"What's constant is the shift. I live between."

I am a speller.
I wield-weld-worship words;
I pluck-pair-propitiate plants.
Always in the intention of mindfulness,
I offer my services.
  • Two ears, one mouth, and ten fingers to cover it with. So many things I "could have" written of, these past three months, in an effort to make connections. But oftener and often, I feel that all my connections are ships in the night, that personal communication is merely a proxy for or distraction from what's really going on, that "what's really going on" transcends space and time, and death. 

    I found out last night that my Hanai uncle Ole' left this embodiment two days ago. He was in his 70s--younger than my dad, older than my mom. As far as I understand, for the type of cancer with which he was fairly recently diagnosed, the demise was mercifully rapid. We were ships in the night; we were also deeply connected. In a post-Ole' world, will I still be so sure that deep connections transcend depth?

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  • All the way back in early March, I reported that I’d had a root-canaled front tooth extracted. Almost half a year on, we’re well overdue for an update.

    Summary: getting the tooth yanked was definitely a good idea. Root canals have no blood supply to bring oxygen and carry away toxins, but they are perfectly placed to pick up and harbor infections and, again, no blood supply means no white blood cells to deal with infections. Mine didn’t smell bad like some people report, but there were visible signs of infection.
    However, the “thereafter” portion of missing a front lateral incisor, the cosmetic aspect, how to fill the gap… that’s been a much bigger issue than I was prepared for. In retrospect, I wish I had done a lot more research and acquired more of a roadmap for what I was getting into. I have something to fill the gap right now, but the story is far from over.

    Once the tooth is gone, no replacement is going to be perfect, and I ran into unexpected issues with effects on my neurological functioning.

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  • “Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home; that wildness is a necessity.” John Muir.

    To return is to go back to a former position, to turn and change direction, go back the way you came. So, a homecoming, Penelope at the end of the Odyssey. But you can speak of returning to a place as soon as the second time you go there, and every time after that. Every time you change direction, go back the way you went that first time, you consolidate that sense of the new place as a place of origin.

    Resort is a place you go out to (sortie) again and again. And so I keep resorting to the spring at the top of Mount Lemmon--back there, again there. I keep returning, transforming a resort into a source and base.

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  • In my last post, I talked about how the most nutrient-dense, high-antioxidant vegetables (i.e. the vegetables closest to their wild/weedy/herbal state) tend to be the lowest in carbohydrate, and most of their carbohydrate is fiber. I suggested this makes them ideal ketogenic diet foods for many people, partly because they are great fat-delivery vehicles.

    I added,

    "I mean that both from the culinary perspective, in that oily dressings or sauces combine beautifully with vegetables, and from the nutritional perspective, in that many of the micronutrients in vegetables are fat-soluble (notably vitamins A and K1 and the carotenoid antioxidants), while the vegetables themselves aid in the breakdown of fat (the acid in sour vegetables helps to emulsify the fat; bitter compounds in vegetables prepare the liver to break the fat down into its constituent parts)."

    So--pesto! A perfectly ketogenic application of herby vegetables combined with the well-structured oils that form the basis of our body’s fuel.

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I have been an herbalist since earliest childhood, but I have closer-than-comfort experience with prescription psychotropic medications. I’m a scholar of ancient Indo-European languages, but I’ve lived all my adult life in the New World. I believe we are interdependent, we need each other, and together we rise, but I’m a hermit.

I’m a certifiable “grammar bitch”/stickler, but I don’t believe in prescriptive grammar at all except when we’re creating a text and want it to be beautiful and professional. I adore my multilayer awareness of word histories, but at the same time I do not deplore misshapen neologisms or changes in spoken grammar.

I’m a dietary zealot, but only for myself; in fact, I have many dietary restrictions, but I’m willing and able to prepare just about any food a person could ask for. (One exception: I have made it my policy not to work with gluten for my safety as a celiac; no more dust masks!) I understand what’s wholesome and what isn’t, but I also understand that an individual can be allergic to (poisoned by) a wholesome food and that there’s a time and place for the other-than-wholesome.

To wit, most of my life was an effort to transcend, minimize, and do without my body, to become pure spirit and light; but the only way that I’ve been able to anchor light and spirit has been within my body; and for all my knowledge and experience and detective work, all my listening and counseling, perhaps the most profound help I’ve ever been able to give another person has been through making them food and through placing my hands on their bellies (Chi Nei Tsang).

I work as an academic translator, but I also do social media for clients. The resonances carried on individual words steer every aspect of my life experience, but I spend a significant amount of time every day moving into the place beyond words. I compose poetry, but then I neglect to write it down and it’s lost. I have to work at the computer, but I have to go out and gather herbs.

Sometimes I remember the future; sometimes I run into the past. I am Hermes/Mercury, but my family were goldsmiths. I am a funnel, a bridge, an interpreter.

Ela Harrison is a wordsmith: writer, poet, translator, editor, researcher, interpreter of etymologies and ancient languages, as well as a lover of wild plants, enthusiast of herbs and permaculture, student of natural medicine, and anchoress of the interplay of etymology, biology, and holistic healing. 

She holds an MFA in Creative Writing (Poetry and Nonfiction) from Pacific Lutheran University's Rainier Writing Workshop, and Masters' degrees in Classical (Greek and Latin) Literature from UC Berkeley and from Oxford, and in Linguistics from Stanford University and from Oxford.

She is an experienced academic editor and translator, and also an experienced literary/developmental editor and translator and ghostwriter.
She is also an experienced chef, particularly for special diets, and she provides nutritional counseling and coaching. She is a Chi Nei Tsang practitioner. 

Her essays, poems, and book reviews have been published in the New England Review, the Georgia Review, the Georgia Review BlogCirque Journal, and F Magazine.

"What's constant is the shift. I live between."

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