Tuesday, August 11, 2009
It is possible, I suppose that sometime
we will learn everything there is to learn:
what the world is, for example, and what it means.
I think this as I am crossing from one field to another,
in summer, and the mockingbird is mocking me,
as one who either knows enough already
or knows enough to be perfectly content not knowing.
Song being born of quest he knows this:
he must turn silent were he suddenly assaulted with answers.
oh hear his wild, caustic, tender warbling ceaselessly
unanswered. At my feet the white-petalled daisies display
the small suns of their center piece, their -- if you don't
mind my saying so -- their hearts. Of course
I could be wrong, perhaps their hearts are pale and
narrow and hidden in the roots. What do I know?
But this: it is heaven itself to take what is given,
to see what is plain; what the sun lights up willingly;
for example --
I think this as I reach down, not to pick but merely to touch --
the suitability of the field for the daisies,
and the daisies for the field.
-- Mary Oliver
Thank you to ALL of my friends who have posted support and love on these travel entries. I cannot respond to each you because of time and signal strength, but please know that I feel your presence and deeply appreciate your reflections.
It's a morning fit for singing praises to Mother Gaia for the beauty she has wrought. At 7:00am the sun is brightly shining over the backdrop mountains to the Yellowstone River a stone's throw from the Dolphin. A VERY big bird with some beige coloring is soaring out one side window and the barren hills on the other side of the road smile at me out the other side.
I'm at peace in my new world, in this latest adventure-in-the-life, in my solitude. I still do not know the answer to the questions Mary Oliver asks, "what the world is" or "what it means," but like the mocking bird I know "enough to be perfectly content not knowing."
Yesterday I left Sam's family's home high in the foothills of very rural Montana, 60 miles north of Billings after four days there. Sam left as well, in the long bed cargo van that was formerly mine, heading back to Oregon. The release of that van symbolizes in a very concrete way the closure of the sweater cooperative project I started in Ecuador in 1997. The 11 years working there with those exquisitely talented women are permanently etched on my heart, and the way the project opens new future work and living possibilites for me is life-affirming as well.
Cruising down US 89 South yesterday on the approach to Yellowstone, I envisioned myself a turtle slowing moving along with my shell covering me, my home about me. The cab-over design of the Toyota Dolphin supports the turtle image in my mind's eye, as does the slow-moving 4-cylinder engine. I'm not disturbed about the *step down* from the cargo van's V-8 engine. In fact, I see it as a metaphor for the general "slowing down" direction of my life...and I like it!
So today it has been "Yellowstone or bust!" and it's about time...it took me 67 years to get here! And HERE I AM at Yellowstone's lovely north entrance, via Gardiner, WY:
Yellowstone Lake...it seems interminable!
More Yellowstone photos:
Tuesday, August 04, 2009
I who am the beauty of the green earth and the white moon among the stars and the mysteries of the waters, I call upon your soul to arise and come unto Me. For I am the Soul of nature that gives life to the universe. From Me all things proceed and unto Me they must return. Let My worship be in the heart that rejoices, for behold, all acts of love and pleasure are My rituals. Let there be beauty and strength, power and compassion, honor and humility, mirth and reverence within you. And you who seek to know Me, know that your seeking and yearning will avail you not, unless you know the Mystery: for if that which you seek, you find not within yourself, you will never find it without. For behold, I have been with you from the beginning, and I am that which is attained at the end of desire.
-- Charge of the Goddess: Traditional prayer adapted by Doreen Valiente and Starhawk
Tuesday, 7:45pm Mountain Time (this morning I was in Central Time Zone)
I have great appreciation for the big ol' V-8 long bed cargo van taking me on this final 1500-mile journey to Billings, Montana. After buying it new in December 2000, it has safely taken me almost 150,000 miles to arts and crafts shows with the beautiful hand-knit sweaters lovingly made by the skilled artisans in the Ecuador women's master knitters cooperative. It continues to bless me by enabling me to live out another dream -- of trading it for a Toyota Dolphin 20' camper!
My time and energy for being on the computer, after almost 9 hours of driving today is very limited. But I am so grateful for so much abundance in my life, and I want to take time to express that before closing down the computer for the evening!
I left central AR Sunday morning and drove 6+ hours to Stephanie's beautiful home in Kansas City. She and her partner wined and dined and entertained me like I was royalty. What an amazing way to spend the first night of my journey. I felt so honored and loved. And THEN she showered me with gifts as well. I'm truly blessed to count them among my friends.
Ok, now that Stephanie has posted a photo of our dinner table on her SPage ( www.sparkpeople.com/mypage.asp?id=SL
ASALLE ), I have to tell you Sunday evening's menu -- insalata capricciosa (garden fresh basil, tomatoes, and garlic, local fresh mozarella, drizzled balsamic vinegar and olive oil hauled from Italy in Steph's luggage -- you get the picture), SP recipe for quinoa and black bean salad (picture perfect!), ear of fresh sweet corn, slices of sour dough whole spelt bread dipped in parmesan laden olive oil, red an white wines as requested...and for dessert SP recipe for (fresh) blueberry crisp topped with frozen vanilla yogurt.
Monday morning I got a late start (having WAY too much fun!). The plan was to meet Ginabug in Lincoln, NE for lunch. Since I left KCity after 11:00am for the 4-hr. drive, my arrival time was mid-afternoon. Gina was standing in the driveway waving as I pulled in and practically her first words were to the effect, "Why don't you cancel your motel reservation and spend the night with us?" Of course she REALLY had to twist my arm on that one...another evening among friends vs. Motel 6...DUH?
And so I not only met Gina, whom I've been cyber friends with for over five years between WW online and SPeople, and her partner, but had the privilege of spending the night in their beautiful home after another exquisite evening, which included dinner at the beautifully appointed Blue Orchid, serving sumptuous Thai cuisine. Gina and her partner opened their home to me with no prior notice and, again, treated me like a queen.
This morning we all got up at 5:30am and enjoyed freshly ground and brewed organic fair trade coffee and delicious organic fruits and toast. I was on the road by 9:00am for the long drive ahead.
My life has been beautifully enlarged by the addition of these lovely friends into it. I am incredibly blessed and feel that whatever happens during the rest of this odyssey, the fortunate beginning sets a tone for an auspicious and favorable Rite of Passage (for you see, this journey is much more than a vehicle trade...but I'll have to share further with you about this when I'm more rested).
Bowing deeply in gratitude to these souls of generous and loving spirit,
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
Here's the 2001 8-cylinder Dodge Ram 2500 Long Bed Cargo Van that I bought new, being readied for its *Last Hurrah* with me...the only pleasure trip it went on in the nearly 160,000 miles I drove it (all sweater project miles):
*My trusty Maxi-Rama cargo van*
Here's the story: I called my old friend Sam Tuesday to wish him happy birthday. As we talked, he mentioned that he had purchased the camper (he's a mechanic and does alot of buying and reselling of vehicles) and described it:
~ cabover 20' camper
~ camper part never used
~ 25 years old
~ one owner
~ total mileage 50,000 miles
~ new tires
~ mechanically impeccable condition
~ it gets up to 20 mpg. (4 cylinders)
I started *uhhhhhing* and *ahhhhhing,* reminding him that I've had a fantasy to get a camper for years. He had just put an ad in the paper and already had six responses, asking price $6500. He said, "I can see you cruising the highways in this. It's just your size Maha! I can absolutely envision you behind the wheel." And he started asking questions about my cargo van. My sweater project van has 149,250 miles on it and has a market value of less than $4000 (and gets about 11mpg, yikes), but I've maintained it in impeccable mechanical condition. It purrs!
*This is like the camper Sam has, but this one is probably 22'.*
So on Wednesday Sam phoned back -- HE WILL MAKE A STRAIGHT TRADE(!) for the cargo van, which he will use in his new business! We've known each other since 1986 on Kauai. He is a very dear friend and over the years I've helped him out in various ways. I guess this is payback.
The reason for Billings is that he is moving his 83-yr. old mother there from OR since his sister lives there. It will also become his permanent residence, although his plan is to become a mobile RV mechanic and Green technician (installing energy-saving and environmentally sustainable devices in the RVâ€™s like solar panels and inverters, etc.) so that he can travel at will and make money along the way. He doesn't like OR winters (or MT winters for that matter!) so he plans to head to Arizona in the wintertime to take care of the RVs of all those "snowbirds."
OK! So here's my Travel Plan:
~ Leave Conway, Arkansas Sunday ior Billings, Montana.
~ About 6 hours later, arrive to Kansas City to hang out with Stephanie (SLASALLE!) and her partner and spend the first night of the journey!
~ Monday night with SFriend GINABUG, a prof at UN, Lincoln, NE
~ Arrive Billings, MT the afternoon of Wednesday from the 1,450 miles trip (about 24 hours -- four days for me driving alone)
~ Meet my old friend Sam there, who will have driven a mint condition 1984- cylinder Toyota Dolphin 20' from near Portland, Oregon
~ We'll hang out a few days, perhaps including taking the camper to Yellowstone/Jackson Hole, for him to explain everything to me
~ I'll drive the Dolphin (great name for my *new baby!*) to AR
~ Sam will drive the Maxi Rama (my name for the Dodge) to OR
~ Coming home I am going via Jackson Hole and Yellowstone, the Grand Tetons and Jackson, as well as many national forests which will make my return route different, catching Greeley, CO and then back country roads all the way to Kansas City to look in on Stephanie again!
So what do you think? There's still time for me to change my mind (yeah, right -- FAT CHANCE!)! WHEE!!!
Sunday, July 26, 2009
Like a ball batted back and forth, a human being is batted by two forces within.
-- Yogabindu Upanishad
How apt is that Yogic scripture in describing the reality of my daily life. I'm constantly called upon to make decisions between instant gratification and choices that truly serve me, between mediocre and masterful, between going with the status quo and looking deeply and choosing wisely.
Eknath Easwaran, one of my teachers for many years, with whom I gathered with many others each week in Petaluma, California, is an amazing wordsmith, using his enlightened mind/heart to communicate Truth succinctly and lucidly--
"As human beings we have a divided nature â€“ partly physical, but essentially spiritual. We are constantly batted by two conflicting forces. One force is the fierce downward thrust of our past conditioning as separate, self-oriented, physical creatures. Yet built into our very nature is an inner drive that will not let us be satisfied with a life governed only by biological laws. Some inner evolutionary imperative is constantly exhorting us to grow, to reach for the highest that we can conceive."
May this be a day of aligning with the force that helps me to grow and continue "to reach for the highest" in every choice -- from food, to how I choreograph the day!
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
I'm headed out of town for a few days. My friend Robert's mother, who is also dear to me, has had a severe stroke. Her life has always consisted of serving others. In recent years, because of many factors (not her health, though, which has always been excellent), she has not been able to be out-and-about, so this simple woman, a saint really, chose to become a Prayer Warrior. For many years she has devoted the first two early hours of the day to prayer for those in her immediate circle, and ever-expanding circle.
This seems an apt commentary to dedicate to her and her life of service. The commentary is for all of us though, really. Easwaran's words of wisdom tell us the truth so lucidly in our journey toward wellnesa of body, mind, and spirit.
Use the light.
Come home to your true nature.
Don’t cause yourself injury:
This is known as seizing the truth.
-– Lao Tzu
As human beings, we have been born with the capacity to make choices. No other creature has this capacity, and no human being can avoid this responsibility. Every day, whether we see it or not, we have a choice of two alternatives in what we do, say, and think.
These alternatives are: what is pleasant and what is beneficial. The first pleases us now. The second may be unpleasant at the beginning, as anyone who has begun a physical fitness program knows; but it will improve our health and contribute to our peace of mind.
Both choices promise satisfaction. One we get immediately, but it comes and goes; the other requires effort, but its benefits stay with us and often benefit those around us as well.
-- Eknath Easwaran
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