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Sunday, June 14, 2009

Time out after a particularly intensive few weeks ...

Escaped for a few days to visit my friend, Tom, and the magnificent wild rhododendron (some as tall as 20 ft.) deep in the redwood forests -- and the colorful wildflower displays on the Mendocino Headlands. It was glorious; a balm to the spirits!

No brilliant sunsets this time, and an ocean that appeared to be at peace. There was no sign of the dramatic crashing breakers or even wind-driven whitecaps to provide the sense of movement and cadence that I find myself almost instantly in harmony with. Fog and mist reminiscent of the northern coast now less frequent than before; nothing like the environment that I remember from years ago. Missing are the winds that shaped the gnarled cypresses growing near the ocean's edge -- as if stretching from their roots vainly trying to reach inland. Climate change? Surely another sign to be ignored at our peril. Over recent years the fog has visited less often and the winds seem more gentle. The oldtimers in the area decry the end of both the lumbering and fishing industries and, of late, fear the predicted disappearance of tourism -- given the economic forecasts for the State. The certain closure of state parks in response to budget cuts hangs like a pall over this picturesque village of artists and lovers.

Found myself wondering if these environmental changes are as dramatic as they seem, or, if it is simply no longer possible to ignore them since we've developed the technological capacity to notice, measure, predict, and attempt to effect the slightest variations in nature's patterns through research, practices, and changing human behaviors.

One hundred years ago we would hardly be aware of earth tremors that occur in the Far East or in Antarctica. Now our Richter spits out a report within minutes (seconds?) of the event.

Finding myself outside the range of the sound of urban gunfire and sirens in the night -- my mind probes far different questions and dilemmas -- but does it rest, ever? I'm not sure.

I know that sleep is harder to come by in these later years and that may be due to the millions of questions and quandaries collected -- unanswered -- over a lifetime. Most nights I fall into deep sleep for a few hours after playing out my day against inner eyelids for what seems endless hours. Dropping into sleep comes without warning; going from a highly alert state to the void of nothingness until consciousness returns with a suddenness somewhere around three a.m. It's then that I take on the monumental task of solving the world's problems (the big stuff like world peace and how on earth does one deal with wrinkles and sagging jaw lines, etc.) and connect with my greater self which includes others; the all-inclusive "We." Its hard to explain -- but I do sense a oneness with all that I can't seem to access at other times; except when I find myself in an empty church or temple of any denomination ... .

...only in Mendocino does life in the foreground give way to a panoramic view of what lies before me -- in this place where I can hear the sound of the ocean, feel its rhythms, taste the salt in the air ... and experience the fragile beauty of the Headlands wildflowers ... .

... the quiet ... .

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