We had a bad storm and this weekend I ventured out afterwards with my camera and just went exploring. Here is what I discovered.
The Daily Post asks: “You wake up tomorrow morning to find all your plans have been cancelled for the next seven days and $10,000 on your dresser. Tell us about your week.”
Well, here’s the thing: I can’t tell you about it — yet. I can’t tell you because I don’t know where I will be.
I can tell you what I would do though. First, I would take some of that money and rent a decent car for a week. Then I would just get in it and drive. Yes, a good old fashioned Road Trip, the kind I used to go on with my parents as a kid. We never planned vacations. We never made reservations. We might have a vague destination in mind like, let’s say, the Grand Canyon or somewhere like that. But how we got there would be the best fun.
I remember one year we had stopped at a cheese factory in Oregon and took a tour. Of course my mom had to buy some cheese afterwards. A couple of days later we found ourselves driving through Mt. Lassen National Park. The more we drove, the stinkier our car became. At first we thought it was the smell of sulphur coming from some of the geothermal sites in the park. Then we started blaming each other for the smell. Finally, we concluded that one of the cheeses my mother had bought in Oregon was not surviving the trip in the ice chest. So we stopped along the road and buried it. My mother hoped that some small animal did not dig it up and get sick from it.
That is just one snippet of memory of an awesome road trip as a kid, stinky cheese and all.
Do I think I can recreate that sort of trip?
I have different interests now. I would be looking for the unique and unusual, the inspirational and gob-smacking beautiful. I might go looking for islands in the mists or birds on the wing. I might get so caught up in it all that I might not come home for a while.
Well, at least not till the money ran out.
ljg (c) 2013
On Saturday, I felt compelled to go to my local botanical garden. I say compelled because I had so many chores to do Saturday that I really didn’t have the time. Yet, I went.
When I entered the grounds, I wandered around a bit, snapping photos, until I found myself in a little area called “The Garden of the Senses.” This area is comprised of plants that have strong fragrances or are unique to the touch. A stone bird-bath with a fountain was situated in the middle surrounded by some arbor-covered benches. I realized then how tense I was and how much I needed to relax.
I settled on the bench and set my bag and camera aside. I sat upright without reclining on the back of the seat. I set my feet flat on the ground and let my hands and arms rest on the top of my knees. I closed my eyes and took in a long breath.
I focused my attention on my neck and face as I slowly exhaled. Then I did the same for my shoulders and so forth until I had focused my thoughts on each area of my body, releasing tension with each inward and outward breath.
Whenever a wayward thought entered my mind, such as what I needed to do that day or the trials of the past week, I would simply let them pass by and resettled my thoughts on my breath.
Soon, I became acutely aware of my surroundings. In the Garden of the Senses, I could smell the sweet and pungent fragrances of Rosemary and Mexican sage. I could hear birds chirping, the movement of the gardener in an adjacent patch, and the sound of dribbling water. I felt the breeze touching my face and arms. I opened my eyes and saw that about eight or ten little brown sparrows had settled into the bird bath, completely unaware of my presence and happily thrashing about.
Then I felt a sting on my ankles. I looked down and saw that I had situated myself near a string of black ants and some had commenced crawling on my feet and ankles. I decided that it was time to move on. Feeling refreshed and relaxed, I picked up my gear and began wandering along the paths of the garden.
I entered a patch of dahlias and cockscombs. Many of them were high, almost eye level with me and were of all manner of colors. Butterflies and bees were everywhere, flitting and buzzing from flower to flower. Being cautious of the bees, I slowly made my way through the patch. Then, something shiny caught my eye.
I approached a red cockscomb and saw that the flash was an iridescent beetle quietly grazing on the flower face. In the morning sun, the beetled glittered like a jewel in an amazing array of greens, blues, and pinks.
Generally, I am not fond of insects, but I was totally mesmerized and stood for several minutes observing the beetle. Then I realized that I had been called to garden to witness this simple but glorious display of nature.
The lessons I learned this morning are these:
I need to heed the call of the wild and enjoy the outdoors as frequently as I can;
I need to do deep breathing meditations more often, once a day for a few minutes to deal with daily stressors;
I need to be completely open to the surprises and wonders that nature offers.
Not a bad way to spend a morning, don’t you think?
LJG © 2007, 2013
I like to think that I can feel the energies of the natural realm, which is comprised not only of the spirit of a place but that of time as well. No better place for me to feel a convergence of these energies is at the beach at dawn during the time of the full moon. It is there and then where I feel a seemingly full dichotomy of energy: night and morning, setting moon and rising sun, land and sea. Then, as I soak in these energies, for a few sublime moments, the dichotomy disappears and I feel union and absolute balance.
And where there is balance, there is peace.
ljg (c) 2006, 2013 (El Porto Beach, California)
A response to today’s Daily Post prompt.
A bit of super-flash fiction on the act of sleeping….
“Why is this happening?” Mavis mumbled under her breath.
2:35 a.m. Like clockwork. Every night.
She flipped on the bathroom light and winced. It never got any easier. Night after night, she roamed around, trying to figure out the reason why she could not get any rest.
After she flushed the toilet, she stood in front of the mirror and examined her bloodshot eyes. Was it hormones? Stress? Eating spicy food for dinner? What? She leaned closer to the mirror, trying to get some idea.
Suddenly, a face loomed up behind her, white-fleshed with gaping eye holes and a crooked, fang-laden smile.
She screamed and screamed, just like she did every night, at this apparition in her bathroom.
Then she bolted straight up in bed. Once again, in the wee small hours of the night, she was shaken out of her sleep.
ljg (c) 2013
Image: Endymion, by John William Godward, from ArtMagick.com