Wednesday, May 27, 2015

California Retreat



Last week I went to a meditation retreat in California.  The nice thing about traveling to the west coast from Ohio is that it is easy to wake up early and for this night owl the morning light is quite a treat.  Every morning before breakfast I took a nice stroll with my camera.  The first day I didn't go very far because I was obsessed by how the sun was hitting the weeds along the road.  I sat down to photograph the pineapple weed below and then noticed the clover next to me.  In every direction I looked, the light was hitting every thing in the most spectacular way!  



I thought about doing a whole post just about the pineapple weed above and took dozens of photos of it.  I love the way the light illuminated the conical lime green orbs. 



At least once a day I took the dirt road in the photo above and ended up at the oak tree below.  One day I tried to have a rest against it and ants crawled all over me.  I had to strip down to my skivvies and give everything a good shake.  Luckily it was just me and the wild turkeys doing our dance.



I was also quite impressed by the size and beauty of pine cones along the road.  And I felt lucky every time I found a "star" dandelion like the one below.



I also have to mention the amazing colors of the muscle-red wood and peeling bark of the manzanita tree above.  Every one of the manzanitas had such character and strength - maybe from living in such a dry environment.

My friend Jodi and I also found lots of oak galls on our walks.  They reminded me of the Japanese art form of creating shiny balls of earth and water called Dorodango (check it out it is awesome!), although I prefer the cracked, earthy appearance of the galls.  If I made mud balls I would want them to look like this.



After a week of soaking in all this beauty and sitting in meditation I realized that the mystery both surrounds us and lies within us.  Whether you prefer looking out or in, it doesn't matter...but look at it...notice it...for it permeates everything... everywhere... at all times... if we only have eyes to see it.


"After chopping through dense salal and hacking off ironwood bushes for an hour or so, I stopped, exhausted. I found myself standing motionless, intensely aware of all of the life around me, the breathing moss, the chattering birds, the living earth. I was as much a part of the woods as any millipede or cedar tree. At that moment, too, I was aware of the mystery." -Margaret D. McGee



"Existence is a mystery.  We aren't here to solve the mystery...we are only here to see that we are the mystery." - Matt Kahn



1 comment:

Jodi Christiansen said...

Lovely! I can always count on you to point out the beauty that is everywhere just waiting to be noticed.