Thursday, August 12, 2010
You create yourself in ever-changing shapes
that rise from the stuff of our days---
unsung, unmourned, undescribed,
like a forest we never knew.
You are the deep innerness of all things,
the last word that can never be spoken.
To each of us you reveal yourself differently:
to the ship as coastline, to the shore as a ship.
-- Rainer Maria Rilke, from (Rilke's Book of Hours: Love Poems to God, trans. by A. Barrows and J. Macy)
Youghiogheny River while cycling on the trail
Intersecting with Chris (PUDLECRAZY) and Rachel (WILDHONEYPIE1) in Yellow Springs, Ohio, two more amazing women, SparkWomen at that, brought BIG JOY to my heart as I come close to three months on the road, completing Maha's Magical Mystery Tour in time to begin fall classes. Though distinct and unique in their own rights, these two friends are indeed both beautiful examples of beings in the world making a difference in their way of living it out.
Beautiful, gracious Chris, who has taught grades 4-7 for almost 30 years at the highly regarded Antioch School, previously the lab school for Antioch College (which she is an alumni of)
is one of those multiply talented, over-achievers whose accomplishments could be intimidating (though she's ANYTHING but THAT!)
She was poised to *shoot* me standing in my camper.
We spent all of Tuesday AUGUST 10 afternoon/evening together and MAN! did we pack it full:
~ upon my arrival, she swooped me up and took me into the village and accompanied me while I chowed down some lunch, all the time communing/dialoguing together. While we were at Ha Ha's Pizzeria(!), two beautiful young women came in and, upon seeing Chris, ran up to her, hugging and greeting her. I learned afterwards that these are two former students (remember, almost 30 years at Antioch School), both through university now...one living in Italy and both flourishing in the world!
~ we then cruised the streets some, while I got the cook's tour. She had made a haircut appointment for today with her gifted and wonderful haircutter, so she showed me where Wavelengths is.
~ we went to Tom's Market and the local health food store, where I replenished my food supply
~ of course I twisted her arm to drive by both the Antioch School, as well as her Alma mater, Antioch College. On the wall of the school is some stupendous ceramic art created by her students: a flock of many kinds of birds, with branches and leaves strewn about and the peace symbol created by some of those branches and leaves, birds perched here-and-there.
~ we went to her place and I got to meet and play with the one-and-only legendary STELLA!
~ I also got to meet her handsome DH, who gifted me with a jar of his special homemade mustard, which I plan to sample with avocado today!
~ Chris insisted I take some brown basmati rice (I was going to buy some)
~ she prepared us a refreshing and perfect light dinner of whole wheat macaroni/spinach salad with goat cheese and cherries
~ she gifted me with a yoga class at the downtown studio, while she attended water aerobics
~ after class, she rescued me when I was miserably lost after dark, and we went back to her home where
~ we pulled the trip itinerary for Wed. travel together (when she should have been in bed!) and I arrived here with nary a hitch!
~ she gave me an individual whole wheat peach/blackberry cobbler (that would be a resounding YUUUUMMM!)
WAAAAAAAAAAAAAH! I'm soooooooo sad I didn't get more photos of Chris'n me on Tuesday and NONE of one-and-only Stella! I kept leaving my camera in the Dolphin. Getting there on I-70 had been very stressful and it was VERY hot and VERY humid...and I think I had a temporary(?) *Brain Melt.*
Wednesday, AUGUST 11:
YIPPEE! It was nip-and-tuck, but I got to meet and play with Rachel, aka WildHoneyPie1:
Rachel is the young, committed mother of three children, ages 3, 6 and 9! I already knew she was a special soul from our prior communications via SP. But what a joy it was to intersect with her...to learn about her revolutionary matriarchal roots, her stellar mothering philosophy and commitment , her bright and quick mind, her wisdom...far beyond her years. She has so much to offer the world and right now she's focusing that wealth on three fortunate children! Here are some photos of our morning together:
Isn't she beautiful! (me BEFORE the haircut)
Sunrise Cafe, where we had an exceptional breakfast (Chris tried to take me there, but it's closed on Tuesdays)
Rachel insisted on sending me off with a copy of the local news
A cluster of kewel-esque shops in this town of less than 4,000. I also loved Asanda Imports and the handsome sweet proprietor, where I bought birthday gifts. He and his wife (who teaches yoga locally) met in Thailand on a secluded island with others, practicing Mysore Astanga Yoga.
A bench at the library
More exterior library art
Detail of book tree, with REAL books
This and the following on the streets in Yellow Springs
Tree fiber/crochet art
More bench art
Relaxing on the daisy bench AFTER my haircut. Gary, who owns Wavelengths Salon, is not only a master hairstylist, but also a gracious human being. I'm so grateful to Chris for facilitating the appointment in her salon!
I didn't want to leave this magical village and so Rachel and I ended up having ANOTHER delicious meal, lunch this time, at Williams Eatery. It is owned by a wonderful young Peruvian woman (who waited on us) and her husband, William.
Thursday, AUGUST 12:
Peek-a-boo at Charlestown State Park, southern Indiana
This morning I cut through the humidity to ride my Trek down to the Ohio River (made it 6 miles last night before aborting the trip and heading back because it was getting dark) and 9 miles this morning
It looks like dusk, but that's just because the morning sun rose over the Ohio and I was looking into it
The Ninja Turtle Patrol came to the rescue and moved this lovely creature off the road on the way to the river
Butterflies along the way; I also saw a pair of wild turkeys trotting off the road, both directions (prolly the same pair!)
I'm now eating an amazing salad of organic spring greens, avocado, grapes, sheep feta and olives from Current Cuisine that Chris introduced me to and a fine miso-ginger dressing I have on-hand. I'm thinking of heading to Mammoth Caves National Park for the night and to explore down-under!
Saturday, August 07, 2010
Earth's crammed with heaven, and every common bush afire with God.
-- Elizabeth Barrett Browning, from Aurora Leigh
I'm in my THIRD month of trippin' about in this huge, awe-inspiring country of ours (and a *touch* of Canada as well)!!! Today I rode my Trek to -- and about 20 miles around -- Niagara Falls. I'm so glad I have this unique opportunity to see more of it, since up to now, I've been generally more traveled internationally than domestically.
RECENT HUMAN INTERACTIONS: There was Laura in the St. Lawrence Seaway Region and Judy in Ontario, Canada...who both got in their cars and LED ME significant distances to my campground when I showed up at their front doors miserably lost! (Over the three months, two others have LED me to places, the latest of which was a young man who yesterday led me to smalltown Brookville, PA , library.)
Then there was Ellen from Buffalo, a pal I went bicycling with in Allegheny State Park (a retired [published!] law librarian), and Melissa (a world traveler, currently a teacher and summer employee at Alleghany State Park, NY) from Salamanca, two kindred spirits that I intersected with in a sweet and substantive manner (e.g., shared meals, wonderful conversation, bike rides, etc.).
I wish I had photos of these women!
RECENT NATURE INTERACTIONS: Here I will post a photo journal of just a token of the last two parks I've been in (wish I had a better camera, but you'll get the idea)...oh, and a few shots of Niagara Falls:
Here I am (can you see me?)!
A beautiful garden adjacent to the falls
This wonderful "Sri Chinmoy International Peace Falls" plaque was in the garden
A breath-taking silvery lavendar hibiscus in the tropical greenhouse
Loved the tall grasses
I also made it to the Niagara Falls Botanical Gardens (at Azimat's recommendation), but my camera battery pooped out, dang it! It was amazing in every way!
ALLEGANY STATE PARK, NY (BTW, they spell it "Allegheny" in PA!) :
Osprey pair with their young in the nest right at the park entrance!
Loved that I got site 108!
Quaker Lake (the side of ASP I camped on). I got very few photos of ASP, a beautiful park that I would love to return to, both Quaker and Red House sides, to explore further.
COOK FOREST, PA (absolutely magical):
Can you see the amazing trunk *design* in a center background tree?
I loved the sun-dappled trees
Incredible mushrooms were scattered through the forest
Still life with coffee (can you see it?)
Lots of fern in the shaded, misty forest
Friday, July 23, 2010
The Saint Lawrence River (Mohawk: Kaniatarowanenneh, meaning "big waterway") is a large river flowing approximately from southwest to northeast in the middle latitudes of North America, connecting the Great Lakes with the Atlantic Ocean. It is the primary drainage of the Great Lakes Basin. It traverses the Canadian provinces of Quebec and Ontario and forms part of the international boundary between Ontario and other places in the United States:
St. Lawrence Seaway
I camped at Black Lake last night, about 25 miles from Alexandria Bay, the 1000 Islands region:
This morning I head to Wellesley Island State Park in the St. Lawrence River for three nights
Wellesley Island State Park
A friend who is from this area insisted that I MUST go on the boat tour of the islands. She said that albeit it's a "touristy thing" it is nonetheless a spectacular sightseeing experience: "The most popular cruise is the Two Nation Tour, a 2 1/4 hour cruise departing from its home port of Alexandria Bay. This features a narrated international tour offering enjoyment of historic and scenic wonders in both American and Canadian waters. At the end of each trip there is an optional stop at Boldt Castle on Heart Island for a self-guided tour." usboattours.com/1000islands/
Uncle Same Boat Tours
I also plan to do lots of bicycling during these days...and I even hope to perhaps rent a kayak (thanks Francesca)!
I sadly left Francesca's loving home yesterday -- and the company of Timothy the handsome freckled springer spaniel, her two beautiful rescue horses Onyx (who is sun-bleached to a dark brown now!) and Zeus, and her sweet DH. At her recommendation I drove west on NY-3 through exquisite scenery...green, green, green...with lakes, rivers, and all the myriad the joys of the Mother at her finest!
One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
their bad advice --
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
"Mend my life!"
each voice cried.
But you didn't stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations,
though their melancholy
It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do --
determined to save
the only life you could save.
~ Mary Oliver ~
Monday, July 19, 2010
I just spoke to dear lovely Francesca (FRANCESCANAZ); we'll meet about 5:00pm; I'm back at the state park after an 11-mile bike ride and decided to use some battery power to write a brief blog before I have lunch and begin the journey north.
Me'n Azimat, nighttime
Being with Azimat (another SparkFriend), and meeting her husband, at the retreat was wonderful beyond what I could have imagined. I am deeply indebted to her for telling me of this Teaching, to the universe for arranging my trip making it workable to attend, and to the Sufi Order for gifting me with a partial scholarship, which made it financially feasible. The two teachers, Pir Zia, head of the Sufi Order International, and Aziza Scott, Director of Esoteric Studies, were unbounded in their wisdom and the generous sharing of it.
The mountain top where the programs were held.
Pir Zia is a soul of high consciousness, a noble man who moves and acts with grace and beauty. Being in his presence (darshan) was a deep blessing. Though my notes are paltry, since I was mostly too taken by his words to write, here is just the smallest sampling of a few thoughts that touched me deeply (paraphrasing): "Every opening, every flickering of desire for Truth IS the goal of the whole creation...sentient beings and otherwise. When you look for God, God is in the look in your eyes. The One we seek is seeking us. Every movement toward the One is another hidden disclosure. In the span from eternal to mundane is the paradox of all that is magic and splendorous in life.
"The vertical dimension of the heart is the medium of communion with the Divine Source. Its horizontal dimension is the medium of communion with all other manifest beings. Do not close the heart from being wounded, from pain. It shouldn't be avoided in a dual universe.
"It is our sacred task to be present for it ALL, to bear witness to it all. Pain is not to be disowned. Pain denied or repressed morphs into suffering.
"When I hold another in my heart (prayer) the person is uplifted by the holiness of my thoughts toward the other. We are the channels through which Divine remembrance flows through creation...divine grace pouring out to the world.
"Interbeing is our state, from the smallest particle to the largest galaxy. We are all made from the same *stuff.* In showing compassion toward all other sentient beings we are acknowledging this interbeing."
I came upon a huge red-tailed hawk hopping along the ground at Beaver Pond in Harriman State Park the day before arriving to The Abode. It was no more that eight feet from me! I was shocked and delighted by this incident, a first in my life, and just stood there as it moved toward a puddle in the path where I was, drank from it and then just remained there in its elegant magnificent plumage looking at me. Pir Zia would say that this "was a moment of mutual seeing, each of us having been impacted by the presence of the other." Indeed, my life was changed by the communion with this creature. It eventually flew away, its enormous wingspan awing me, its red tail glimmering in the sunlight.
After the retreat at The Abode over the weekend and the night at Hearthstone Point State Park at Lake George in the Adirondacks, this piece by the incomparable poet Naomi Shihab Nye so very perfectly describes my state of heart and mind.
Needing to be
From any store.
To lift something
You already had
And set it down in
A new place.
What does that do to
The old blood moving through
~ Naomi Shihab Nye ~
(You & Yours)
With failing battery power I won't even attempt any photos at the moment. Perhaps there will be time at Francesca's.
Among other things Francesca and I will take our Treks on the ferry across Lake Champlain to meet DokeyOkey (Kathleen) in Burlington, VT for bicycling fun and dining together. Also ahead is 1000 Islands in the St. Lawrence Seaway region, Ithaca leading into the Finger Lakes region, Niagara Falls, including the Canadian side, Yellow Springs, including Antioch College and hopefully Spark friends! I need to be home for fall semester and birthday celebrations by mid-August.
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