Tag: gratitude

The Dawn of Spring

The Dawn of Spring

So close to making it to the beach for sunrise but alas that amazing orange orb rose over the swamp as I pedaled. It didn’t matter. It was still an outstanding start to Spring. And was still low enough in the sky at the beach to offer very nice light for a couple of phone photographs.

I felt my life begin to open last weekend with manatees, kayaking, a book signing at Franklin Anderson Gallery of Art and a visit with an old friend. Laughter with my friend, water, sea cows and a family of artists I met were Spring tonics. Clarity began to ease the old stuck places into motion and it feels as if my life can breathe once again.

This is the magic of Spring. Not first stirrings but all-out growth bursting forth.

Growth doesn’t happen simply by reaching for light. We must dig our roots deep into darkness and dare to explore the Unknown before we leap forward into light.

My friend Deco. His dad took us on a fun ride on the Suwannee River.

What a glorious dawn of Spring that amplified the joy from the past weekend. Grateful for so much….friendship, soul-sister-artists, manatees, water to play in and answers.

Véineas agus an Ghealach

Véineas agus an Ghealach

Pre-dawn in Árainn, Ireland….I’m still dreaming of being there.

I woke at 5am and rushed to put on my cycling clothes along with a Smartwool undershirt. It was the first crisp day to ride of the best riding season of all on the Alabama Gulf Coast….which is ANY time the humidity drops below 80% and the mornings are crisp.

As I pulled onto the highway with my bike loaded on the back of the car, the sliver of the crescent moon hung very low in the eastern sky with venus in perfect alignment beneath it. The crescent was horns up with the dark of the moon creating a perfect circle above it. And there was a red planetary body to the right of the moon. The triangular alignment was spectacular. It made me think of a delicate silver moon necklace with a small chain hanging down dangling a brilliant diamond beneath it.

All the way to the state park I watched the beautiful firmament. Stars twinkled and all seemed to point to the incredible dance of the moon, Venus and Mars.

When I stepped out of the car, the chilly wind caught me by surprise but not nearly as much as the constellations shining so brightly overhead. I attached lights to my bicycle, put on my shoes, helmet and jacket and took off into the darkness.

One of the many, many moments of bliss I discovered within myself in Ireland.

Immediately I recognized the feeling and it was the first time, since returning from Árainn, Ireland, I felt it. Stars, chilly air, darkness, nature…..ah…..laughter erupted as I pedaled. It was awesome to be able to find my bliss again and find home in my skin.

After such a powerful time of travel and adventure, there is often a time when the big energy that built with the experience collapses and life returns back to a place that wasn’t so awesome. But the changes and leaps made in Ireland continue to propel me forward. The energy of change and growth remains strong and the renewal gained there is clear and bright.

Véineas agus an Ghealach….Venus and the Moon reminded me how my wild woman self loves stars whether under pine trees with a humid breeze or on rocky shores of the Atlantic Ocean. May I continue to dance with wild abandon to the untamed heart within me.

An Lá Foirfe, I

An Lá Foirfe, I

The first day of my solo adventure was the absolute perfect weather day. Skies were beautiful blue with white, puffy clouds and the temperature was warm. It was quite a shift from the blustery wind and rain from the previous night.

The only plan I had was to rent a bicycle and take my camera along on a ride. The intention was to see what wild places called my spirit and follow.

I felt drawn to the end of the island I had not yet explored so pedaled until the road terminated and leaned the bike against a rock fence. The stile in the fence led to a nice path leading through a rabbit-filled meadow. I had no idea where it went but it looked inviting so I unpacked my camera from the pack and set off on foot toward the sea.

The grasses along the hills were lush and heavy. A part of me wanted to lay in them and rest in their softness but the path called to my adventuresome spirit.

Before too long the flat rocks known as Glasson Rocks appeared. I remember reading about the tragedy that occurred there in 1852. It is the place where 15 men were swept into the sea by a small tidal wave while they were fishing.

While researching my route later, I discovered the little valley near the rocks is known as Gleann na nDeor, the Vale of Tears. It’s where people used to watch ships leave filled with Irish people leaving for America. I can only imagine the sadness the land must still carry from the tears shed there.

The path followed the intersection of land and sea and the gentle slope of the land as it grew in height. Not far from Glasson Rocks there was access to rocks that were underwater at high tide. I carefully watched the sea before entering the tidal zone and found myself asking permission to enter. The power of the place was palpable.

I slowly moved below the cliff through wet rocks keeping my awareness on the sea and the height of waves. I experienced feelings of awe at the beauty mingled with respect for the sea and a slight tingle of healthy fear of rogue waves. I didn’t linger there as my intuitive voice was urging me to find a safer location to appreciate wild nature.

There might have been a heavy sigh of relief from my guardian angel after I found higher ground. The grassy path felt like an old friend and I settled into the task of climbing through the rocks as the incline took a turn toward steep. But the scramble up through the karst and grass was worth it.

The 300 foot drop into the sea was breathtaking. All week I longed for a vista such as this. I had seen similar views but only from a great distance. I felt such joy that this magnificent place called me to it. I simply had to surrender, listen, and follow the call to find it.

My camera was busy documenting the place while my spirit was absorbing beauty so absolute I found myself shouting thank you to the rocks and sea. I felt the rhythms of sea and tides and waves in my bones as joy cascaded through me like water on the rocks below cascaded back to the sea.

When it felt like I had taken-in as much beauty as possible, I turned back to the trail and began the descent. But more beauty awaited as I passed places that looked completely different from the ascending point of view.

At one point I stopped to photograph the angle of cliff and sea, the turquoise ocean contrasted beautifully with the dark rocks. As I was looking through the viewfinder on my camera and pressing the shutter, a  rogue wave leaped at least 20 feet over my head. I had seen no waves that high on the way up nor while I was observing from the top. It was a strange feeling to realize that the location of the wave was where I had walked below and experienced such uneasy feelings.

I’m not sure how I wasn’t completely soaked but not one drop of water touched me….or more importantly, my camera gear. And even more importantly, I wasn’t in that dangerous place beneath the cliff when the unexpected wave crashed onto shore. But I understood why my internal warning alarms were loudly screaming at me while I was down there.

After a few moments of jitters, I continued my walk down and around the point of Árainn. Back through the rabbit meadow I went, through the stile in the rock wall, to my waiting bicycle.

I cycled back to the B & B to shed layers as the day was warming rapidly and I was very much overdressed. The plan was to go to the pub to eat lunch but as I cycled toward Killeany, I saw a historical sign that read, Dún Dubhchathair–The Black Fort. It felt like a magnet pulling me so I quickly turned left onto the little lane and pedaled. Lunch could wait.

The ratty mountain bike I rented wasn’t the best bicycle but it did okay on rocky, unpaved road as I left pavement and continued pedaling. Eventually I had to abandon the bicycle along the rock fence and hike up the remaining incline.

When I reached the top, the historical marker was pointing…but what direction? The entire landscape was a field of karst with grass growing between the gray rocks. Hiking was challenging with close attention having to be given. There was no path. Just a general direction and no fort in sight.

Again, I followed the pull of the sea and eventually found the remains of the fort; however, it wasn’t the fort that was so spectacular–it was the fields of karst and the sheer drop into the Atlantic Ocean. Once more, the yearned-for spot called me to it. I was nearly ecstatic. It was difficult containing the emotions that wanted expression…. gratitude…. joy…. excitement… happiness… peace… exhilaration… appreciation… wonder… awe.

I reflected on my desire to find these places of wild, spectacular beauty all week. I wanted to photograph them. And for me the process of photographing places offers a deeper connection to them as I open myself to more than the seen and invite the unseen essence and energy of a place to speak to me, whisper its secrets.

It was challenging to comprehend the magnificent gift that was unfolding with every step of the journey on that perfect day. As I sat in solitude and stillness at Dún Dubhchathair, I pondered the process of manifestation. With an open heart I visualized exactly what I wanted all week. I had no attachment to it yet felt the longing build–I want to be where the sea and rocks meet…I want to see it…feel it…photograph it. It was a physical experience of longing, like wanting to reconnect with a long-lost lover. So why was I so surprised that what my heart most longed for came to pass? All day…at every turn….the vision I cultivated manifested over and over again.

An Lá Foirfe…The Perfect Day–Part I

 

 

You Open Me

You Open Me

The Gulf has been calling me lately and so my cycling mornings have included a visit to Her as the sun rises over the sugar-white sand dunes. This morning on my journey to Her, a song came on my playlist that took me deeper into the magic of the morning.

“So sublime, this meeting, you and I. So beautiful that sparkle in your eye.” Just as I passed a freshwater canal leading to the big lake in the state park the sparkle of the Divine reflected off of the water’s surface. I stopped to take in the moment and breathe deeply with Her.

“I see you. You see me. Makes me realize how tragically rare and wonderful is this scene. I treasure this moment however long. It’s teaching me maybe I don’t need to be so strong….You open me….You open me….You open me.”

As I continued listening and humming along, my heart opened and tears came. How precious is this moment….this time in relationship with Mother Earth, the physical expression of the Divine. I broke open. The thought came, we never really know how much we love someone until they are gone from our lives. And then…we never really know how much we love this planet until it begins to die….bit by beautiful bit.

Over the boardwalk my tires thumped until I reached the beach. Metallic turquoise water and soft, pink skies reached out to me and I laughed out loud at the sacred beauty.

“I love that you are a being, magically. It’s so lonely sometimes being me. It’s what we all wish for and need. So precious this moment, to be seen….devastatingly beautiful….humanity.  You open me…you open me…..you open me.”

I pushed the replay button and stood feeling the cool air kissing me as the music played. “I treasure this moment however long. It’s teaching me maybe I don’t need to be so strong.” And as I sang along, two dolphins appeared within a few feet of the shoreline.  I walked my bike on the soft sand to the water’s edge and stood laughing with unbounded joy as the dolphins continued feeding a bit further offshore.

As I clapped and sang my gratitude they jumped completely out of the water three times. “You open me…you open me…you open me. Sita ram….sita ram….sita ram.”

Sita ram is a mantra that invokes the energy of the divine couple, a perfect balance of masculine and feminine energy, a balance of the left and right sides of the brain. As I stood watching the dolphins swim west, I found deep calm and balance as I opened to Mother Ocean, Mother Earth and the sacred dance we share.

You Open Me…a lovely song by Jim Beckwith performed by him and Hans Christian that helps me open to the magnificent beauty of our Ocean Planet….and the light that shines through all willing to be a channel.