It was an early morning. I tried to sleep a little longer but the thoughts of the days activities wouldn’t play along. I woke up and said a prayer to the day and got out of bed. I looked at myself in the mirror. I felt a wave come over me of joyousness and acceptance of the path I am about to commit to.
It’s been a year of practice. A year of searching, changing and forgiveness of myself and others. Only one time before in my life have I ever felt this amount of calm spiritual contentment. I have learned to listen even if I disagreed. I have learned to find peace with myself. I have embraced loving kindness and compassion for myself and others. I am about to make a lifetime commitment to being the best person I can be not only for myself but others. To become selfless and accepting. It is my day to take refuge in the three jewels…the Buddha, Dharma and the sangha until my mind is awakened to the emptiness of calm abiding. What a magic moment.
The teacher explained the weight of this commitment and asked if we were sure that this
Path, this yearning to learn the dharma and follow its teachings, and to support the like minded sangha. We all confirmed. I now can join the ranks of the Buddhists working in the shadows for the benefit of all beings.
My heart and my inner most being has always been about surviving from day to day from a dark cloud that always has hung heavy over me. This practice has allowed me to find ways within to move past that dark place and reawaken a little girl in a way grown up body. To comfort and love her again. To be a more affirmative and positive person. Maybe I am a bit loud and brash but the heart is soft and has more love than a person deserves. Enough to spread the wealth and enjoy the journey.
One morning a child woke from a peaceful dream, the forest was buzzing like nothing she had heard before. She swung her legs over the side of her hammock and looked around.
Everything looked the same…
She took a deep breath, following the air, identifying the smells…no nothing different.
She listened as the trees seemed to vibrate and hum a foreign sound.
The animals of the forest and streams became frightened. Squirrel ran to the sleeping place of the human child. Darting here and there, all in a tussle, Squirrel could hear nothing but the insistent buzzing of forest trees. It was driving him mad. “Please make it stop,” complained Squirrel to the child.
In just the most perfect squirrel talk the child promised to look into this strange occurrence of sound.
She packed just the right amount of food for a child her size and pulled a wicker pack she made out of a hole in the tree she called ‘home.’
She went in search of the black and white Magpie.
As she remembered a dream she had once about a caterpillar that turned into a beautiful flying creature. She remembered the cave paintings in her dreams. Perhaps it is this phenomenon that is causing the sound.
The Magpie appeared with a blue settler jay and they sat high on a perch in a lovely oak tree.
“What can we do for you today child?”
She went in to explain her dream and the buzzing in the trees. None of her friends had heard this sound. “I supposed since you eat in the trees you might know,” quizzed the child.
They had seen no caterpillar cocoons and only a strange hollow casing of an alien being, half mantis and half beetle.
The child was puzzled and quarried the two further, “Who else can know the answer to this?”
There is a fable told of a curse placed on an ancient beast. It would devour entire forests in a weeks time, leaving no shade for the baby birds. Huge trees died and grasses were stripped next.
The Jay said that only Mother could answer this question since it was long before their lives. The child thanked them and they flew off.
The child went to her favorite place to sit in quiet meditation. She asked for The Mother’s help. A day passed and she dreamed of walking through a canyon playing a flute. Above her was a hawk gliding on the currents. Soon her flute became the cry of the hawk and she saw through its eyes.
Many hundreds of moons ago, a witch came to the land and was made a deal by a prince. The lands were being ravaged by an ancient dragon that would consume the fields and forests. The animals called on the Witch to slay the ancient dragon. They paid a fair price for the spell and went on with their lives.
The witch found the dragons favorite watering hole and lay in waite. Sometime after the setting of the moon, in the inky blackness of night, the dragon appeared.
The witch had poured a potion into the water and the dragon soon froze in place.
The dragon asked the witch kindly to forgive its hunger and if it could, it would eat much less. The witch smiled and spoke a spell that caused the dragon to remain dormant for up to 15 years. The dragon was not happy and lashed out and the witch turned it into a small insect, and it would be imprisoned underground, only to emerge every 15 years.
The hawk released the child and she heard only her flute again echoing in the canyon.
She woke from this dream and ran quickly to the meeting place by the big lagoon. She explained her talk with the magpie and jay, her dream and the hawk.
The fear slowly faded from everyone’s minds. The sound of the creature under such a spell should be enjoyed.
Eventually one day a cold air blew from the north and the buzzing stopped.
Everyone settled in for the coming of the colored leaves.
One night, in the land of whimsy and magic, a small child had the most marvelous dream.
The animals and small creatures of the forest and fields came to her.
The little child listened as they explained, in only language she could understand.
The small birds chirped wildly and the bees buzzed in swarms…even the small snails, ants and geckos had something to say.
It seemed the world was missing something very important and she listened with deep concern only a child could have.
She promised she would try to find a solution and went searching high and low.
Finally she came to a big tree… it was so tall she couldn’t see the top so she began to climb.
She tried not to be afraid as she got higher and higher.
All at once she heard a small voice…it was a spider hanging from her back legs on a silken thread.
“What brings you so high into my tree young one,” the spider asked.
The child answered, “I am looking for an answer to the small animals and insects of my small forest.”
The spider pondered and said to the child, “I know someone who can help, but you must continue to climb up my tree past the clouds and into the heavens.
The child looked up and was frightened but summoned up all her courage, fueled by her love for all her small friends, and with the help of the spider, began to climb higher and higher.
Finally, after a long time climbing, she cleared the clouds and looked around.
The sky above the tree was colorless and was blinding.
She could hear the swoosh of a birds wings coming closer and her eyes adjusted in time to see a huge hawk as it landed beside her in the tree.
The spider and the child told the story to the hawk, of her search for something for her friends, the small birds and insects of the forest.
The hawk told the child to climb on its back and she did, without hesitation, and the hawk spread his wings and flew off.
He knew the only one who could solve such a problem and he headed straight up and into the blank sky.
The child felt the power and protection of the hawk and fell to sleep, nestled in his broad neck feathers and dreamed a dream inside her dream.
The hawk came to rest on a tall mountain top, high above the clouds of the world below.
The child slowly was helped down and told to go into the cave that sparkled like a star, so she went off along a rocky trail until she saw it…
A cave so beautiful it sparkled like the night sky full of twinkling stars. The child couldn’t believe her eyes.
In the cave sat a small woman on a blanket of white buffalo hide, her eyes twinkled with a loving energy and his hair was as white as snow. She looked up softly smiling at the small child.
She walked over and the woman held out her hand and the child put her tiny hand in hers.
“What a small child to be carrying such a huge burden for your small animal friends,” the woman spoke in a quiet, even voice. “The love in your heart and the purity of that love has brought you to me, I am pleased.”
The small child was amazed the woman knew of her journey and her desire to help the small creatures of the forest. The child smiled.
The woman told the child to sit beside her and they would think together. All of a sudden rainbows began to emanate from the cave walls and circled the two.
The woman took a paintbrush from her cloak and captured the rainbows. She handed the brush to the child.
Next she waved her hands in the air and the sweetest smell filled the cave and she reached in her sleeve and pulled out a jar and captured the sweetness in the bottle and tightly closed the lid. She handed the jar to the child.
The child looked up at the small woman standing now before her. She reached out and touched her cloak and she spoke in a soft voice, “take these and go back to the forest and seek out the spider, she has the power to create and will need to instruct you on how to use these to help your tiny friends,” and in a burst of golden light she disappeared.
The child looked at the paintbrush and the bottle with wonder and returned to the hawk who quickly took flight.
Returning to the tree top, the small child thanked the hawk and he spread his broad wings and flew into the empty sky.
A small voice woke the child from her dream. Was anything the child remembered real? She put her hand in her bag there they were, the paintbrush and the jar.
“Oh spider, I am so glad you waited,” said the child.
The child told the spider the dream she thought she had but here were the items the small woman gave to her.
The spider laughed, “oh small human, you have met The Great Spirit Guru, she is the creator of all things, even you. Allow me to show you how to solve your problem,” and with that, the spider took the paintbrush and thought hard as she used the paintbrush to paint the sky blue and added a few white clouds.
The child watched in wonderment as the emptiness was transformed into a beautiful sky. She took the brush, and following the spiders instruction, thought hard and painted a brilliant sun. She giggled with delight.
The spider then helped the child back to the earth and she wandered back to her small forest.
She walked over to a green bush and with the paintbrush, painted a small object on it, then took the jar and poured out some of the sweet smell. She repeated this over and over again on trees, bushes and vines.
“I have been to see The Creator of us all,” said the child to her small animal friends. “The spider and hawk helped me to find the answer by taking me to her cave.”
The small animals, birds and insects circled the child and watched as she took out the paintbrush and thought hard, the answer came to her, like in her dream.
The small animals, birds and insects of the forest watched for days and days as the child worked.
She finished late in June, the time of the long, hot days.
The sweet smell of these beautiful things she created fill the air and the bees and birds were instantly drawn to them. Each was filled with nectar for the birds and pollen for the bees. Other small animals also delighted in this new thing.
One night, all the animals gathered around the small child in celebration and gazed up into the night sky.
The hawk and spider joined in the celebration.
The animals, birds and insects, all fulfilled, asked the child what was this life giving sweet thing she created?
The child looked to the spider for a creative name…
“I will call it a flower,” answered the child, after long deep thought.
I awoke today, not sure if I was hot or cold, half under the pile of comfy covers, pillows cradling my head. I laid still with my eyes closed, listening to the cactus wrens calling back and forth. There’s a heavy smell of dew in the air which makes the dust layer smell sweet, like fresh dug dirt. The fans that keep us comfortable all night, are still whirring silently in the background. Gandaulf rustles and turns over with a huge sigh. It’s morning in El Pescadero, Baja California Sur.
I sit up, rub my eyes, and peel off the layers of blankets, fluff my pillows and sit bleary eyed for a second before the alarm goes off. It’s Easter Sunday and the washboard road below camp is strangely quiet. The sun is now high in the morning sky which reveals the dark shadows of the marine layer clinging to the shoreline, obscuring the wave break. The sky above is clear blue and hurries the fog away with the help of the blazing sun. It’s gonna be a hot, humid day.
Gandaulf greets me with a smile, kisses and flops over for belly rubs, then bounds across the bed and onto the cabinet, waiting patiently to be set down on the floor. The door is flung open and out hops Gandaulf and in floods the damp morning air.
The humidity immediately makes my bare skin feel damp and clammy. I take a deep breath and welcome the day.
I can smell the coffee wafting through the heavy morning air. Just the smell energizes my senses. I pull on some loose fitting clothes, since everything is damp, and step into the sun. There is no mistaking that we are closer to the equatorial sun. My bare skin feels the intense heat and I quickly retreat to shade. Chris and Gandaulf are nowhere to be seen so I stare off into nothingness and I drift away.
I begin daydreaming. This last month has been an exploratory journey for us. Why we ever feared crossing the border is beyond me. Perhaps it was the fear of the unknown, the language barrier, if I am honest…it was just plain fear. Fear of what, I now ask myself, having reached the southern tip of Baja without any major incidents.
In all my wildest dreams, I never thought the day would come when I could escape the cold, follow the sun, be a free spirit and not worry about ‘what’s next?’ I feel that I deserve this slice of peaceful life. A full life…full of new experiences, new friends, new places, new joy and triumph over anything I allowed to hold me back.
I look at our tiny home and feel a sense of pride. It has been our home for ten months. Our blood, sweat and tears poured into this metal shell. It’s everything we have…it’s all we need, beside each other.
Talk today is of a bike ride to the beach. The roads are dusty and extremely washboarded. The temperature is forecast for 79 degrees, typical breezy afternoon and humidity hanging around 50%, a beautiful day for beach exploring. It’s Easter Sunday and we are hoping the locals will stay home.
The southern coastal beaches of Baja are mostly devoid of shells. The waves line up in sets of three, breaking in rolling tubes of froth and foam. The thunderous crashing waves draw the brave and foolish to tempt their fate riding these angry tubes of water on surfboards. It makes for an engaging hour of fun to just observe their antics.
We are now in the middle of Samanto Santos or Holy Week. It is similar to Spring Break. This year, COVID still holds a tight grip on the country, so the Federal government put out guidelines to help quell the outbreak due to hordes of partiers and beach goers. They have closed beaches to camping, limited the capacity and close them at 7:00 pm. It’s just strange to see ample space to walk around the small pods of families and friends claiming their personal space. The sound of Mexican polka music hangs on the air, pumped from huge speakers brought to the beach. The atmosphere is light and jovial.
We find a small patch of sand, at the edge of the tide line, and sit down to be silent observers of the surf, screaming and laughing children running up and down the beach as the wave rolls in. Body surfers being ground into the beach as the wave unleashes on top of them. Dogs dancing with the water, bounding in gazelle-like leaps, barking wildly with joy.
I soon find myself lost in the emptiness of the vast ocean and sky, each blending into the other in the deepest blue imaginable. I am at rest, calm, at peace with all around me. I can feel the fury of the waves, the intensity of the sun, and the endlessness of the cloudless sky. I begin to float and feel weightless, a oneness with the vibrant energy surrounding my empty shell, as my awareness is freed from the constraints of my body. I drift in a state of primal awareness, energized by the enormity of this space. A movement across the waves returns me to the beach. I watch as a pelican glides along, inches from the waves, never breaking the surface of the water. I grab a handful of warm sand, dig my toes in and release an audible sigh.