Travels, Friends, Dark, and Light, and the Breathing Ocean

We walked the beach on that last day.  We alternately dreamed of our future farm in California and the kisses we would receive from Maryjane when we got home.  The air was heady with fresh soil and sea and the birds actively flew overhead.  My skin feels so good in the humidity.  I can breathe better too.  My breath caught though as I recognized a form in the sand behind a rock.  An infant seal clubbed, his spirit and his head missing, decomposing into the soft layers of sand that cradled its small body.  Mankind’s darkness found everywhere.  Glimpses of ugliness scattered vaguely in all the light.  But thank goodness for the light.

We had an amazing time with our beloved friends.  We miss them terribly as the years lapse between visits.  We traversed the back roads and highways, from beach to farm to mountain to sunsets, tasting, drinking wine or waters with lemon from Marigold the Lemon tree who resides sweetly on their fourth floor balcony.  Nourishment in every moment.

We came home to one of our cats, Zuzu’s Petals, missing.  Like losing a penny down the drain.  She is most immersely lost in this wilderness of apartment hell.

And as I sat on that beach in the sand looking out into the widest expanse of water that just graced the sky, and listened to the birds dancing on the rocks, and watched my husband recline and read, I noted the waves as they tumbled forth near my feet and then pulled back into the vastness.  Up and stretched in turquoise waves, then exhaled.  Came forth, pulled back.  I watched the ocean breathe for hours.  She gave, she pulled back, she grew in ferocity, she rested, she was beautiful in all her simplicity of ebb and flow.  She wrote out a poem, a script of life, a beautiful tale.

 

Intertwined with Whales

boat 3

A woman on the boat showed us a picture of a dolphin head just coming out of the water.  She had missed the jump.  She had a long telescopic lens and a very expensive camera.  Doug pulled his IPOD out of his pocket but then placed it back in.  I was proud of him.  Doug has an amazing eye for photos and I cannot imagine the work he could do with a real camera.

The water was amazing.  A calm day six and a half miles from shore gently rocking on the ocean.  We were gifted an amazing memory.  Fin whales blew their breath and water straight up in the air around us.  A mother and baby among them.  They were about a quarter mile from the boat and as they went for a deeper dive their backs arced over the water in graceful movement.  They were large and gentle.  The cow and calf came closer to the boat and as their water shot from their blow hole their faces could be seen.  Their arched backs and dives sent the boat rocking.  Like the little boats we had in the bathtub years and years ago with the thick bases that rocked and stayed up in the waves of the tub.  We were a toy in the whole depths and miles of the magnificent waters watching these creatures swim and forage under the filtered sun.

The sky and the ocean fall together in an embrace making it difficult to see where one ends and the other begins.  The whales and playful dolphins the same color as the currents.  The birds swooped down, rested, bobbed, flew, caught our boat, rode the breeze easily on.  Our spirits were deeply connected with every living thing around.  So intertwined with the shy seal who came by, the sea lions, the birds, the sea life, the water, the sky, the sun, the sand, the people around us in similar awe.  We are all one.

“Stop planning.  Prepare for opportunities.”

I heard this as clear as if my friend had said it out loud next to me.  I heard it in the sky.  I heard it in my heart.  Most of the chaos I create within revolves around planning.  We limit ourselves.  Buy a house.  Get a job.  Take a vacation.  Work.  Stay where you know.  Do what you do.  But, what if my future isn’t on a farm?  What if I am to rent an apartment on the beach and write a novel?  What if we take that trip we planned across the country documenting life on small farms?  What if we nestle into our community and have a small garden and chickens and run our shop forever?  What if we don’t?

I know better than to plan.  This time last year we played bocce with our kids on the lawn, the gardens turned and ready to be planted.  A few days after the bees would die.  Then a few weeks later our dog would pass. Then we would receive a letter demanding our demise from farming and the life we knew.  We would laugh, cry, grow, and strengthen and a shop would seemingly appear.  All would be well.  Doors open, doors close, without my planning.

“Be still.”  This I hear a lot as well.  No more planning.  We are ready to take the ride and just see where it leads us.  Leading us out on the ocean to commune with singing whales and playful dolphins was a gift not planned.

 

Balancing Health and Life with the Four Directions

meditation beach 3

Life can be hectic but it is nothing short of a beautiful winding journey.  What are we to learn on this journey?  We struggle to understand ourselves, those around us, our children, our jobs, our circumstances.  But through all of that, flowers begin to flourish in the cultivated areas, even in the seemingly destroyed crevices of our experiences.  What are some ways that we can maintain balance?  Balancing the spiritual, physical, and mental, and emotional aspects of our lives takes some conscious effort.

waves

The four directions in Native tradition demonstrates a visual path for us to follow.  In the east the sun rises and another day has come.  We find ourselves thankful for another day of life.  The Creator resides in the east.  Life begins in the east.  Our spiritual strength begins there as we enter this world and look to the rising sun for new beginnings.

Opposite is the west, the darkening way, looked over by Grandmother moon, where we go when we pass over, where our ancestors reside and look over us.  Our physical selves are focused here and the plant medicines in the medicine wheel in the west are able to heal the body of diseases and ailments that prevent us from living our human life to the fullest.  Sensory and rootedness are focused here, where our connection to Spirit resides in the east.

Over in the south we find fun and childlike laughter as we run through the woods and play with animals, plants, birds, and fish.  Where we find our teachers, where we are young and joyous.

meditation beach 2

In the north a colder, but not harsh, mountain rises and we become the teacher and wisdom is attained from lessons.  It is also the way of rest and recuperation.

If we find ourselves pulled or “stuck” in one area or another we simply change our focus to its opposite and therefore keep balance.

Experiencing all of the elements can aid in this.  When I think of Mother Earth, I think of the forest.  It was powerful looking out into the ocean and seeing her in all her power.  It is humbling and makes me relook at my priorities.  Going on a hike can reset your whole outlook.  Getting up and watching the sunrise, or taking some quiet time during the sunset can help improve calm.

I have trouble meditating.  If I focus on my breath I will start hyperventilating!  I can barely touch my toes but I do yoga anyway.  Everything can have a variation that is specific to you.  Walking and yoga, eating nutritious food, whole foods closest to the earth, using plant medicines, all these things can balance the physical self.  Whereas meditating  on a word or phrase can help clear your mind enough to rest for a  moment, prayer, smudging, connection in quiet to your Source is the way to balancing the spiritual.  Finding time to play and doing only what brings you real joy balances the emotional self while being mindful of your lessons and getting plenty of rest balances the mind.

Close your eyes and meditate on the bus, sit on a park bench, go swimming, be thankful and as we continue to learn on this journey we will find that we are calmer, wiser, and more mindful.  There is a lot of beauty out there in the world.  Capture as much as you can!

Homestead Sitter and New Residents

wine

The to-do lists are on hold.  My back hurts and I am going on vacation Friday and I am betting that the chores will wait for me.  The weedy and overgrown front yard, the tired garden beds waiting to be put under sheets of leaves for winter, the yard cleaned, and cushions needing to be put up will probably still be here when I get back.  Time for a little rest and rejuvenation.

kat and rod

It takes a special friend to allow homesteaders to leave their post.  This isn’t our old, “Can you pop by and make sure the cats have water every couple of days?”  This is, “How would you like to get up at dawn to let the dogs out?  You have to carry the old one outside.  Lean down in the chicken coop and gather eggs, let the chickens out.  You’ll have to sleep here to take care of everything.  Water plants.  Feed 27 animals while we are gone.  No pressure.”  And just like an angel, she says, “Okay.”  Kathy will even be spending her birthday here at our little farmstead.  We are so grateful that she is willing to take care of the zoo here.  Thank you.  Thank you!

vine

We are visiting dear friends in California that we haven’t seen in awhile.  Field trips to vineyards, San Francisco, and the ocean on the agenda.  The first time in five years that our business will be closed for a week. I will have to force myself to not answer phone calls all day.  Leave the phone in my room.  Soak up time with Doug, Steve, and Lisa, and a new environment.  It may be the last time for awhile.  Kat’s list of charges may be increasing when we come home.

Riddle: 4 1/2 new residents will be coming to live at Pumpkin Hollow Farm mid-November.  Can you guess who they are?