Thursday, August 28, 2014
The moment when, after many years
of hard work and a long voyage
you stand in the centre of your room,
house, half-acre, square mile, island, country,
knowing at last how you got there,
and say, I own this,
is the same moment when the trees unloose
their soft arms from around you,
the birds take back their language,
the cliffs fissure and collapse,
the air moves back from you like a wave
and you can't breathe.
No, they whisper. You own nothing.
You were a visitor, time after time
climbing the hill, planting the flag, proclaiming.
We never belonged to you.
You never found us.
It was always the other way round.
~ Margaret Atwood ~
(morning in the burned house)
I sold Kurma Avatara (Turtle Goddess) yesterday, completing the final step in being able to book my flight for Ecuador in latter September. It was a stressful and bittersweet experience. Thankfully, it seems that the buyers have a true appreciation for the uniqueness of this little camper and will hopefully enjoy many adventures in her, just as I have.
I began shopping for tickets today.
Looking toward the driver's cab, the couch on the left makes out into a twin bed. Two swivel chairs on the right are between the table. Traveling alone, I used the top bunk for storage.
Looking toward the rear window, the refrigerator is on the left and the stove and sink are at the back. The door to the bathrom is on the right opposite the door to enter the camper. I will miss my little home on wheels (like the turtle, who carries her home on her back)!
Interesting about me and possessions. I love Margaret Atwood's poem, because it is essentially about stewardship, and as an expression of my philosophy of stewardship, I have always shared the material possessions entrusted to me.
I continue to revel in the joy of deep friendship and my California family's generosity in supporting me through this part of the journey. I will next post photos of some of these lovely and love-filled encounters.
Sunday, August 03, 2014
Definition of "capital" as an adjective -- "excellent or first-rate: a capital fellow or girl, a capital hotel."
I was recently with capital friends Kathy (ATRANSFORMATION) and Vivian (MISS_VIV), each welcoming me into their Sacramento, CA area homes and sharing a gracious spirit of hospitality. The return visit has been a long time coming and I deeply enjoyed the time with them as our friendships grow and deepen. This is the merest glimpse of my time there with these precious friends.
I drove the Dolphin from Marin Co. to visit Kathy and Tiger Lily first, parking in the driveway of her lovely home framed by the stately redwoods.
Tiger Lily, sweetness herself!
Kathy and Tiger Lily bathing in backyard bliss!
Kathy is on the long and arduous journey of reclaiming her life after losing her friend and husband, her life partner. Among other things, we enjoyed quiet time, social time, eating in, eating out, going to the movies for fun...and for greater awareness, and lots of evening walks with Tiger Lily. And Vivian joined us for a swim, dinner and the movies.
The girls know how to eat healthy -- a blueberry, apple, and walnut salad after a swim, before heading to the movies.
I helped Kathy prepare for the memorial party, one year after the accidental death of her beloved husband. It was a beautiful gathering of friends, all reaching out to Kathy in love, enjoying socializing, eating, and drinking. Kathy made a delicious taco buffet, complete with all imaginable trimmings. At the end, we "went on pilgrimage" from Kathy's house to the lovely neighborhood park, where thoughtful neighbors had purchased a bench with a beautiful commemorative plaque.
A few of the guests on the way to the park
The memorial bench, for "...a kind and gentle man who always had a twinkle in his eye."
Christening the bench with "sacred water" from the swimming pool.
Kathy arranged for me to borrow a bike from a neighborhood girlfriend, enabling me to go for a spin each morning before the heat hit. Yippee!
The spectacular trail:
My reward on one of the mornings -- breakfast at the end of the trail at Karen's Bakery and Cafe -- YUM! www.karensbakery.com/
Kathy even took me to the infamous Folsom State Prison:
The old prison, still in use
The original guard tower
My time at Vivian's was also overflowing with joy -- we enjoyed the farmer's market, walking the labyrinth, meals in and out, neighborhood walks and she introduced me to her great automotive shop where they prepared the Dolphin to pass the California emissions test.
Morning coffee together at Vivian's; the Dolphin happily resting in her driveway!
Morning in the garden with Vivian
Fun! Kathy gifted me with a pedicure; more adventurous than me, she chose blue! Vivian painted her own toesies!
Vivian's beautiful yard of flowers and veggies
some of the gifts found within the graden's magic:
...and with magical creatures, like Goldilocks!
The Carmichael Farmer's Market:
Two stylin' broads at the Market
Two young ones mesmerized by a musician
I found arepas! These were very similar to the Colombian ones I'm accustomed to.
Vivian relaxing while I eat an arepa!
The beautiful Christ the King Passionist Retreat Center, Citrus Heights, where Vivian and I hiked the lovely trail of the stations of the cross and walked the labyrinth:
A photo of the labyrinth from the Retreat Center Photo Gallery
This is merely the tip of the iceberg, so to speak, in trying to capture the experience of being with two dear friends who reached out to me unconditionally in friendship and love.
Tuesday, July 08, 2014
The first stopover in the SF Bay Area, has come and gone and this blog is long overdue. (I am now visiting dear Kathy, ATRANSFORMATION, in Folsom, Sacramento area. Stay tuned for #11 on my Sacramento area sojourn with Kathy and Vivian, MISS_VIV.)
So here are a few photos and reflections on the magical SF Bay Area and environs, with some beloved friends. One unfortunate photos omission is a sail boat race that Diana enjoyed being a part of, invited by our friend, Ira. Kaveri and I watched the race on the SF Bay and the four of us had dinner together at the Golden Gate Yacht Club afterwards.
Diana and I loved the day at Land's End coastal trail, Ocean Beach, and The Cliff House:
Another dear friend, Tricia, swooped me up to visit one of San Francisco's fine museums, the Legion of Honor, to enjoy two impressionist exhibits and lunch in the museum cafe:
BTW, this is a Paul Gauguin self-portrait
Beloved Annie came by Jnani's place to take Diana and I on a day trip to Bolinas:
Annie and Diana
Diana the goof-off!
Annie took the scenic route to the Golden Gate through The Presidio
A canopy of eucalyptus lines the roadway
For 218 years the Presidio served as an Army base for three nations; it is now a National Park
Aerial view (from the internet)
On the way to Bolinas, a wonderful mural in Fairfax in what used to be Good Earth Market (it has moved to a larger space)
Ahhhh...first view of the Bolinas Lagoon
The Lagoon dumping into the Bay
LOVE this natural food store!
Bolinas Peoples Store mascot perhaps?
We did lots of hiking on the mesa
Diana and Annie on the trail
Yoga sister Kaveri joined me'n'Diana for lunch at Jnani's:
A profound thought, I'm sure
Next up, five days at a wonderful cabin with Diana and Dawn:
Crossing the "new" San Francisco Bay Bridge
Old and new bridge (from the internet)
Crossing Altamont Pass
On the way to the cabin Dawn checking out produce at a fruit stand in the San Joaquin Valley, known as the "food basket of the world."
Finally we arrive to the cabin in Arnold, 4000' elevation, NE California, in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains:
Somehow, "cabin" seemed like a rather humble description to me
Dawn brewing the morning coffee
An aside, speaking of coffee -- at the Big Trees Supermarket in Arnold I happened upon this coffee, which flooded me with memories of travel through the Andes to Chanchamayo, in the high jungle of Peru with Ricardo, a dear friend who had two brothers living there. We stayed with one and every morning we would toast some of the world-renowned coffee from a neighbor, a coffee grower, manually grind it, and brew an exquisite cup of coffee.
That's Diana outside our bathroom; each of us had an upstairs bedroom
Diana enjoying breakfast on the back deck
Dawn reading the Chronicle on the back deck
The first afternoon we walked down to the private lake which pertains to the housing association; Dawn swam every day; I got in the water, but didn't swim
Diana taking a picture at the lake
We went to Calaveras Big Trees State Park twice; the first day we finished the hike with a picnic sitting on a huge rock in the middle of a creek
The second visit was to the North Grove. The majestic Sequoias, such as the one behind Dawn and Diana, are awe-inspiring
A staircase up to a slice of a downed Sequoia
Leaving the park we crossed the Stanislaus River
And last but not least, a gathering of beloveds at the lovely home of Katherine and Duane:
Katherine, Diana, Duane, Jnani
Mochi, a very important member of the family
Thursday, June 26, 2014
I would say I'm into the third chapter of this adventure, one being Little Rock to San Diego, where I rendezvoused with Diana, two being the trip up the California coast to San Francisco with Diana, and three, the stopover in the SF Bay Area. Four will be a visit to Sacramento area friends. Five? Not sure which chapter Ecuador will be! So, to finish chapter two:
The beach near our Carpenteria camp site.
Cruising Carpenteria Thursday afternoon
Reynaldo's had DELICIOUS flan!
Grape cultivation has been significant in this area for many years.
Beautiful tile work depiction
We finally discover why Steve made that statement abot Carpenteria (Blog #8)
Jnani, Diana and I spent Thursday and Friday nights at Carpenteria State Park before Jnani continued on to Los Angeles and we completed the journey to the San Francisco Bay Area on Saturday.
Jnani brought a big tent to sleep in. None of us had a clue how to set it up. I saw that the family next to us had a similar tent, so I walked over and said to the young dad, "And who put up this tent?!" The fellow hesitated, and I added, "because he is obviously a Tent Installation Specialist, and we need help badly!" He then broke out in a smile and said he and his son had, but that he was afraid I was a park employee the way I asked with such authority. I laughed and asked for their help. Shay and son Lucas, about 13 years old, came over with me and helped us find the front zippered door, which we couldn't even find (DUH!). They went back for a hammer for the stakes and proceeded to enthusiastically put up the tent (with our assistance). was born. Shay's wife Jennifer came over, as well as 10-year old Carly, during the tent raising and thus another friendship was born.
Lucas and Shay (in ballcap) figuring things out
Diana helps out
Jnani tripping the light fantastic as Lucas surveys the progress
The next morning with coffee-in-hand -- yay! That's the tent of our new friends in the background
NOW the story gets really good!!! Since we didn't have a prior reservation, and since California State Parks tend to get totally booked in the summer, and ESPECIALLY on the weekends, and since it was FRIDAY morning we were told we had to move, since our site was pre-reserved for the weekend. WAAAAH! We were told that if we wanted to stay another night, we'd have to enter the lottery and see if our name was drawn. So Diana and I went over to the ranger station and added our name to the list. After a long wait, our name was called! But the space available was on the other side of the campground, probably 1/2 mile away.
We went back to Jnani with the news. Her response -- "Let's schlep the raised tent on top of my car to the new site!" I'm thinkin', "OMG, Jnani's at it again"(she's brilliant, and a VERY creative and non-linear thinker)! So I head over to talk to Shay and Lucas and see if I can enlist their help in this kooky project. I didn't mention that Shay is actually a state parks ranger himself and runs a park in the desert region of California. He's young though (late 30s?) and appreciates our thinking *out of the box* and said, "Let's do it!" So, off we go, embarking with them upon another joint project!
Jnani and Diana stablizing it on top of Jnani's vintage Honda
The show begins! That's Shay in the tank top holding on the the tent. We attracted a GREAT deal of attention all along the way. Campers shooting pictures, laughing, wishing us success, calling others to look at the sight, etc. It was indeed a sight to behold!
Lucas and Shay runnning beside the car, hanging on to the tent, about 1/3 of the way there.
Lucas, Diana, me, Shay, Jnani -- all VERY happy with our success! Another park ranger appeared. We were fearful he would reprimand us, but instead he said he just came to give Shay and Lucas a ride back to their tent and he took the group photos!
I had led the way on the circuitous journey on my bike
The Pacific from our new digs
Jnani built an awesome campfire which we enjoyed Friday evening
Early Saturday morning, the three of us enjoying the beach
Jnani clowning around in the surf
All good things must come to an end, but we're milking our time together to the max! (A toast with my morning coffee.)
Diana is an excellennt driver, and helped considerably with that chore!
We have arrived
we are home
in the here
in the now
-- Gatha for the In and Out Breath by Thich Nhat Hanh
-- Calligraphy by Thich Nhat Hanh
Wednesday, June 25, 2014
I'm entering the near past, not to dwell there (of course), but simply to begin to bring you up to the present. I left off in Blog #7 having arrived to San Diego to reunite with my soul sister, Diana and continue up the coast to San Francisco to rendezvous with Dawn and other friends. Dawn, Diana and I met when we all lived and taught at the Integral Yoga Institute in the early and mid-80s. We became best friends then, inseparable, and known by some as The Three Sisters.
After spending a good portion of Monday, June 16 on necessary chores like grocery shopping and getting the oil changed in San Diego, we finally got on the road just in time for commute hour traffic. In spite of this we made it to San Onofre State Beach, the first camping site we reserved, before dark for the first two nights of our journey north.
San Onofre State Beach
As good luck would have it, we began talking to our cordial neighbor Rich, an artist who has a gallery and lives in Carmel, and this was the beginning of a lovely connection which grew during our 2.5 days and 2 nights there. His pal Steve, also an artist, was set to arrive early the next morning, though only Rich was participating in a Pleinair event there. Steve lives in Carpenteria. (We asked him about Carpenteria State Beach and his response was that it's the safest beach in the world. We puzzled over this, but it later became clear to us.) Steve's intention for the trip was to fish. And fish he did. He landed quite a catch the following day and we pooled our food resources, and had a delightful dinner together, with Steve's fishing and cooking skills the main component of the feast.
Diana watching an artist in the Pleinair event.
Diana and Rich clowning around.
Rich (L) and Steve (R) getting the propane burners going
Sitting down to the feast
Rich told us a funny story. A new head to the CA Parks System decided some years ago to single-handedly eliminate nude beaches in state parks, beaches which had existed for decades and generations. There was one at San Onofre. Signs were put up by the Parks System prohibiting nude bathing, but they always disappeared. Finally a disgruntled nude bather took a sign, managed to climb to a very precarious cliff mesa and posted it in a place no one could get to, nor could they read the sign easily. Many years later, it still remains perched in that hilarious spot:
Nudity in the State Park System is prohibited.
After walks on the beach and a nice bike ride for me, we said goodbye to our new friends and continued on our way Wednesday, landing at Faria Beach Park in Ventura County for the night. We were parked less than 20 feet from the pounding surf and loved the sound show, which acted as a lullaby for us.
Faria Beach Park
The next morning, Thursday the 19th, we headed the further short distance to the sweet little town of Carpenteria and Carpenteria State Beach, just south of Santa Barbara.
Diana had tried to book reservations there online to no avail. Rich and Steve told us that only about 1/2 of the reservations are held by Reserve America, the agency that does the online booking. The others are held for people driving in without reservations. We lucked out and got a great spot for the night.
We had been in touch with another dear friend, Jnani who lives in San Francisco, a health professional who had to be in Los Angeles over the weekend to teach a program at Loyola University. She drove down from the City and met us at Carpenteria State Beach Thursday afternoon, shortly after we returned from the wonderful downtown Farmers' Market.
Jnani and Diana at sunset on the beach.
I'll finish the trek to San Francisco with Blog #9.
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