Every time these mountains catch my eye, I admire their shameless grandiosity. Reaching serenely up into sky and down into valley, arms wide open. Resolutely holding sacred space by being none other than themselves.
Stepping outside one morning recently I looked up and laughed with surprise and joy. The bushes weighted down with fresh snowfall bowed over the pathway so devoutly. An untrodden white path leading into the most glorious snow scene I have ever seen.
Lying belly-down in the clear shallow water, tiny fish nibble softly at my hands and feet. A small bright blue flying creature flicks herself again and again into a backbend, brushing her long jewel like body between iridescent wings. Pond-skaters collide excitedly on surface tension, forming curious constellated circle shadow patterns on the rocky stream bed.
Sitting on top of the ridge. The gentle warmth of the setting sun mingling with my body heat. The cloak of night, with a waning moon hung from its tip, rises up my back. I have just had the wonderful fortune of spending two weeks in solo retreat in the Spanish hills. Being caretaker of the beautiful off grid home belonging to some friends. A place where my teacher once hosted meditation retreats. I have been in this remote valley in the company of six cats, five chickens and two cheeky goats...
Resting on the ground in the mountains recently, across the stream from a family of cows who lay gathered there, a shriek turned my gaze skyward to where Golden Eagle soared. It felt so good to be in the company of Cows and Eagle. The grace of their presence melted me and I lapped it up. Falling deeply inside myself. It felt like peace and ease, something falling from my shoulders and down my arms and back. A fruit swelling and ripening inside my chest.
While living in Nazi occupied Holland during WW2, a Jewish woman named Etty Hillesum stayed close to what was beautiful and shares her wisdom with us through her private letters and journals. In a letter written inside a concentration camp she wrote: "Despite everything, life is full of beauty and meaning."
After days of storms I came down to the river. To the place where I sit and listen and sing. Uprooted trees are strewn all around and the long grass lies flat, combed by the current that must have got that high in recent days. Golden scales of a marooned fish glisten from the smooth wet mud. My feet leave deep hollows.
Walking through a glade of oaks with golden leaves, I heard a sound. Tap....tap....tap. 'What is that sound?' Oh it’s acorns dropping from high high up in the branches onto the ground near me. My feet crunch over the carpet of acorns. They squish into the soft earth. Leaves gather in heaps all around streets and buildings. Pomegranates splatter all over the road, brown and rotting. Seeds spill out all over the place.
Swallows swooped and whistled, insects settled, and an eagle glided high above. The light on the hill across the valley drew up a veil of shadow from the ground. My breath was music through my flute and the sound of my footsteps a drum beat that soothed me. Nothing grand or spectacular seemed to happen in the month I spent alone off-grid in the wild. It was remarkably simple and easy.
Water pours from a crack in the rocks near here. Maiden’s hair and mint cluster around the opening. I love to scoop water to my thirsty mouth and hot face directly from it. Just imagining myself doing that even feels good. What is that feeling? Coolness, Freshness, Vitality, Immediacy, Simplicity?