Friday, May 30, 2008
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
For the past7 years or so, I have been climbing this mountain almost every morning. It does more than keep my heart healthy... it keeps body, mind and soul thriving. This mountain is like an old trusted friend. It has been the keeper of my secrets... it has been a blank canvas from which I paint my thoughts and ideas...a measuring stick that keeps track of my growth... a shoulder to cry on... a sounding board to scream at... an open space to find myself.
I think I have processed every emotion known to man on this mountain. I am an emotional being. When I feel sad, I cry, safely hidden amongst the trees who listen so intently to my woes. When I am angry, I silently scream out as I storm up the steeper inclines, working it out, hashing it out, setting free this raging energy deep within me looking for an outlet. When I am excited or nervous, it is a perfect place to set the butterflies free and burn off extra energy that doesn't cope well when it is pent up in the body. I process all kinds of pain here, sometimes over and over again until I am ready to let go.
But most of the time, when I am here, my mind is free and clear. This space is a clutter free zone. I walk through the bigger trees at the base of the mountain and sometimes stop in my tracks and let myself become a part of the bigger picture...the textures, colours, sounds and smells of the lush landscape. Especially on windy or rainy days. I look up and watch the tops of the trees dance to a whispery song. I listen to the soft pitter- patter of the cleansing raindrops on the giant maple leaves. It is so green here.
When I get to the top, there is nothing between me and peace. I lay back on the rocks and watch the clouds drift by as I get my daily dose of vitamin D. Definitely beats taking it in pill form. I daydream here and think up strange and wonderful things. It never ceases to amaze me how different it can look here from day to day. Some days it's like I have climbed right into the middle of a cloud...the trees look mysterious and haunting in the mist. Other days, when the sun is shining, I look out over the sparkling blue sea and I feel like I am flying.
I rarely get bored of this place, even after so many years. If I tire of one trail, I find a new one, as there are many. But it's not just about the beautiful landscape...it's about tending to the complex landscape within. Being present with myself..checking in. I can't think of a better way to start my day.
Friday, May 23, 2008
Sometimes I feel a lot like this little chive blossom when I am in a quiet space, tucked in tight, hidden away from the constant chaos of the world. And there is such chaos...all the time. So many things happening, all at the same time...
How many people in the world are looking up at the same moon, feeling connected to everyone else that might be star gazing this night?
How many are saying goodbye for the very last time?
How many, in this very moment, are being given a life threatening diagnosis? How many are doing something wild and crazy...brave and fulfilling because they know their time here is very limited?
How many people are climbing trees right now? What would be the ratio of kids to adults? How many can't get down?
How many are kissing, yawning, tripping, hiccuping, sneezing? If everyone sneezed in the same direction, all at the same time, would the clouds suddenly skim across the sky?
How many people are saying the words, "That's so funny!" or "I'm sorry." in all of their various and beautiful languages?
How many really bad singers are belting out their favourite tunes in their cars or showers, blissfully unaware that someone might be listening? How many think they can be a superstar?
If you were to stop time, just for one second, and count all of these random things happening around the world, you would be able to come up with a finite number. How interesting.
On the flip side, what is happening in the world right now that will only happen once? One of those crazy coincidental fluky things that will never ever happen again?
Come to think of it, you can imagine any scenario and somewhere on this planet, it is probably happening.
All of this thinking inevitably leads me to wonder...how many people are thinking these very same thoughts?
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
Sometimes you can tell a large story with a tiny subject.
~ Eliot Porter
~ Bright green, wee little inch worms. Six legs in front, six in back, and a U in the middle.
~ Dewdrops, like a string of pearls on a spiderweb at dawn.
~ The final falling glowing embers of a dissolving firework.
~ The soft little creases on the back of a baby's neck.
~ Tiny sugar crystals baked on to the top of a crackled cookie.
~ Tree frog toes and boogely eyes.
~ Glittery dust specks in a ray of morning sunlight.
~ One single solitary snowflake in all its lacy intricacy, just before it melts in the palm of your hand.
~ Tiny champaign bubbles that dance on your tongue.
~ The complicated design of veins on a papery dragonfly wing.
~ Sparkler stars tracing your name in the night sky.
Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things.
Saturday, May 17, 2008
Thursday, May 15, 2008
A face only a mother could love.....and me. I love him.
I know a little bit about what lurks down in the deep. A year ago this month, I got my diving certification so that I could go swim with sea turtles in the Caribbean last summer (which I did!).
Let me tell you...learning to dive in the cold waters of the north Pacific was a lesson in respect for mother nature. The cold water, poor visibility, powerful currents and stinging jellyfish are very clear reminders that there is no fooling around with the laws of the sea. Except when you run into a wolf eel.
The first eel we saw was so big and lazy, he wouldn't come out of the rocks to play. I was a little relieved, as he looked like he wanted to bite my head off. His head was the size of a basketball, and so was his open jaw. But then out of nowhere, this little guy came swirling around me, checking me out with as much curiosity as I had toward him. He let me pet him and scratch his chin, which I did with great care, as I didn't want to rub off his protective slimy coat. He was like a little puppy...full of beans. And then when the camera's flash went off, he quickly lost interest in me, and was all over the photographer and his camera, as you can see in the second picture. He was fascinated with it. I was fascinated, completely, with him.
I know now, that diving isn't something I'm passionate about. My fears get in the way. I'm always thinking about the what if's (because in my overactive imagination, lot's can go wrong!)...always looking forward to surfacing, and breathing "real" air again. This is why I wish I could grow gills...it would eliminate the fear. Even so, I have seen some incredible things in these waters. Here, the marine life is protected, so there is such an abundance of life. Everywhere you look, there is something new to see. It is the closest thing to visiting a different planet. No oxygen, weightlessness, alien lifeforms everywhere.
My last dive last year was a night dive. I saw one of the most magical things I have ever seen with my own eyes. My dive instructor took me right to the ocean floor and took my flashlight from me and buried it in the sand. The darkness swallowed us whole. But then he waved his hands through the water, and all around me were billions of shooting stars, swirling around me, madly in all directions. Phosphorescence. Microscopic creatures that light up like tiny underwater fireflies when they are disturbed. Absolute enchantment. I was wide eyed and brimming with wonder. For as long as I live, I will never forget that experience.
If I never dive again, I will be content. I've had a small taste of what it would be like to be a fish, and it is wonderful. If I do return, I will be sure to revisit my new underwater best friend and see how life is keeping with him in the big deep sea.
Monday, May 12, 2008
I spent the weekend chasing clouds, searching for starfish, and collecting beautiful treasures left behind by the generous sea. The ocean breathes deeply here...the crash and roll of the thundering waves lulled me to sleep at night, and the ins and outs of the tides kept time for me.
Pacific Rim National Park is about 4 hours away from Victoria, and when I get an opportunity to go to this magical place, there is no stopping me. I am drawn by it's incredible power. Pictures don't do this place justice, as it is too vast. You need to hear the ocean's roar, and taste the salt mist carried by the wind, and smell the cool crisp ocean air. You need to feel the fine powdery sand between your toes. You need to become invisible in the dense mist and watch as it swiftly clears away leaving you exposed in the immense blue openness. You need a complete 360 degree view to take it all in.
It gets in your bones. It gets in your soul.
I was invited to stay at this gorgeous beach house with good friends who feel like my second family. We shared many laughs, incredible food, surfing and drumming sessions, walks on the beach with lots of time and space for solitude.
When I come to a place like this, I get lost in thought. I start asking the big questions. Why am I here? What is all this for? The universe, the world, the ocean is so big...I feel so small. Am I at all significant in the whole great scheme of things? When it's grey and moody, the outgoing tide seems to pull the deeper emotions out of me. I watch the flashes of white spray as the waves crash into the rocks and I wonder why so many of us are so drawn to water. Is it because we originate from the sea? Is it because we are nestled in a warm watery womb for the first nine months of life? Do we remember on some deep subconscious level? Is it because the ocean is full of mystery? What's lurking down in the deep? What thrives in a place where we would surely drown? Water gives us life, but can also take life away. Why then is it so comforting?
I don't know if I can ever leave the ocean, now that I have lived near it. It has become such an essential part of me. When I come to this beautiful rugged coastline, I feel the need to be present every single waking moment so that I can absorb it, and carry it with me until the next time I am able to stay here. It never feels long enough. I can feel its gravitational pull on me, always.
I will return again in the summer months, when the sand and the air is warm. When the water takes on a deep deep blue hue. Stunning against the white of the breaking surf. And then again, in the winter...storm season, when the ocean is raging, and the wind could carry you away. I will soak it all up again and again and again...the anticipation is the only thing that keeps the longing tolerable.
Tuesday, May 6, 2008
I just had to share this.
I saw the first baby ducks of spring over the weekend. I have been trying to get a good picture of a duckling for years now...I must have taken about thirty shots of this little guy and his adorable siblings and every single one, except this one, was blurry. They move too stinking fast!!! They shoot around the pond like little fuzzy yellow comets, peeping a happy tune as they go. So cute watching them try and catch flies. Their little propeller feet can really move!
There is another pond I love to go to in spring because it gets completely covered in lily pads, so thick you can't see the water. I could camp out there all day watching these balls of fluff scurry across the lily pads with their teeny webbed flipper feet. I'm sure I will have more pictures to share once I make it out to the lily pad pond. If one will hold still long enough for me to take his picture!
Saturday, May 3, 2008
I have been tagged (for the first time!) by the lovely Smith Kaich Jones, to write seven random things about myself, and then tag seven new people. So here are my things...
1. I love little earthquakes. (Little being the key word here, as the *big one* is supposedly coming to the west coast, and I do live in fear over this.) They are an exciting addition to an otherwise normal day. I wish I could predict when the next one is about to happen so that I could run out barefoot onto an open field and actually feel the earth quiver and roll under my toes. What would that feel like?
2. I judge books by their covers. Unless they have been recommended to me by a reliable source. It's the photographer in me...I would love to have the job of doing the photography for book covers. I've seen some stunningly beautiful images on books, and it makes me want to read them.
3. I once had a sweet little three legged hamster. His name was Tripod. Again, it's the photographer in me.
4. When I eat fish, I need to chew it meticulously. When I was young, my mom would warn me to be careful not to swallow a fish bone or I might choke. I still worry that I might choke and die, so I carefully fork through every little piece and then chew to the point of ridiculousness. One more reason to become a full fledged vegetarian...I have been living on the cusp for quite some time now.
5. I have an irrational fear of cooking for people. It's not that I can't follow a recipe...I just worry too much that someone might not like it, and would have to force themselves to finish what's on their plate, and pretend that it was really tasty. What if I cooked the one thing they just can't stand??
6. The only living creature I will kill are mosquitos, and even then I feel bad sometimes. Despite my fear of spiders, I have a designated "spider jar" that I use to remove the critters from my living space. I have been successful every time but one...the spider was so big and so fast, that when I quickly tried to cover him with the jar (this can be a clumsy act when you are afraid of them), I accidentally took two of his legs off!! I felt horrible, and had to put the poor guy out of his misery.
7. I love anything made with tomatoes, raw or cooked, but will not eat chunks of tomato in my salad.
I am feeling a little rebellious and I'm going to break the rules. Rather than tagging seven new people (I know many of you blogging veterans have done memes like this before) I will invite anyone reading this post to play along if they wish to do so. No pressure :)
Have a wonderful weekend!