Don't Try This At Home

The Holy Thorn Tree overlooking Glastonbury, UK.

The Holy Thorn Tree overlooking Glastonbury, UK.

Dear Diary... 

I just returned from a soulful, laughter-fueled pilgrimage with a circle of sisters to Glastonbury, UK,  where I purchased an array of magical incenses. I came home with four varieties, and decided to fill my studio with the aroma of "Meditation" this afternoon. This was a resin incense, which, if you haven't ever tried them, burns pretty wildly with a great deal of smoke. I burned a bit downstairs without incident, but not long after lighting a new spoonful upstairs, I was jolted into a state of shock when the smoke alarm went off. Which was the same moment I learned something new about my house - that the upstairs smoke alarm is wired to another alarm system downstairs, which has its own unique kind of piercing, wake-up-the-entire-neighborhood pitch and volume. So I had the distinct pleasure of having two alarms going off simultaneously as I ran around opening every doors and window.

In the past, when smoke alarms have been set off, all I need to do it let air in, wave a towel and turn on the ceiling fan; just a few small steps are needed to silence the alarm and all is right with the world. But these alarms would have none of that, oh no.  After somehow managing to get the downstairs alarm quieted, I had to climb a stepladder and dismantle the upstairs alarm in order to shut it off. (What was that you said? I'm sorry, I can't hear you, I just lost 90% of my hearing.) 

Yep, I just love my new "Meditation" incense - it inspires such calm and quiet, like a cool autumn day with a jackhammer outside my window.


I developed a weird mental block to this blog over the past year, feeling a slightly irrational pressure to make all of my writing here "inspiring", so I'm trying a new "Dear Diary" format. When I saw David Sedaris last year, he read from his diary, and explained that, for him, a diary was more about a brief accounting of the day - a place to record experiences, observations, and maybe a joke or two. It wasn't a journal, it was a diary, and I'm going to borrow this idea from him and give it a whirl right here.

I'll be sharing more snippets from my journey to the UK this week, just as soon as I finish thanking all my neighbors for not calling the fire department.

Christine Mason Miller

Santa Barbara, CA

Writer * Artist * Storyteller * Guide