It’s been a month since we said farewell to Gandaulf. I still have moments in the day when my eyes fill with tears and the words get stuck in throat. Times when all I want is to feel his thick, soft fur between my fingers, and smell his musky odor. At night I swear sometimes he is still there at the bottom of the bed snoring. Of course I sit with the feelings, let the tears fall and, like the clouds in a blue sky, it passes and I am left in the present moment…to move on.
We continue to sell off all our possessions and donated 4 big boxes of women’s clothing to the women’s shelter and odds and ends to the DI. Our shed is becoming more and more vacant everyday. Getting rid of “stuff” is fun, freeing and terrifying all at the same time. What I want to get rid of, Chris thinks we might need someday and sometime visa versa. No matter we settle and the item stays or goes and we move on to the next.
We have started our trial packs. It takes almost as many clothes to be gone for a week long vacation as it does to pack for a year. Save a nice outfit for the occasional fancy dinner or cafe hopping, a few more necessities for hiking or swimming, and an extra pair of shoes…they make a thing called a washer and dryer, so…just like at home, you still need to stop for a domestic goddess day.
The farewells continue almost daily. I have hooked up with some healers that are concocting some plant medicines for me to continue my journey of good mental health and a balance of mind and body. It’s been almost six months since I went cold turkey on anti-depressants and entered the world of good, wholesome plant based medicines. The journey has had its ups and downs, but I am a whole new person, not better, just changed and more energized and grounded.
Between this change and my spiritual endeavors, I have broken through the ancient fortress built around my heart and mind, and found a strong, safe foundation to build a new life on. Yes I have many small tears left on my heart, but I am free from this old baggage and free to build a new adventure in loving kindness and peace.
In not so recent past… maybe when the moon passed into the darkness two times in one cycle of time, the animals of the lands and streams had a feeling of dread. The Mother Earth and Father Sky had lost a child and they wept and wept. The sky lamented and huge clouds formed storing the mournful tears and heavy hearts The animals could no longer see during the day and gathered in fear in the highest peaks as the tears began to rain down on the land The child that lived on the beach, at the edge of the forest, saw the rage of the sea as the furry of the clouds made huge waves that thrashed the delicate sand.
The child knew her friends were in danger and ran over the ancient trails to the secret meeting place of the night seers. The night seers could see when the others could not. They had special powers and summoned the animals and fishes of the sea. The child was instructed to go to the lagoon and seek the Sleepy Turtle. It was said the Turtle was the most ancient of all creatures… so ancient that the earth itself had been fooled by its slumber and grown trees and mountains on its very back. The child knew this journey would take too long and went to find the falcon that lived in the side of the the canyon that held the great river of red.
The raven knew the exact place and agreed to help the child. She climbed onto his silky black back, held tight to the scruff of neck feathers and they took off. The journey took the whole day and most of the night. In the darkness of night, huge burst of light flashed in the sky and you could hear the the very breaking of The Mother’s heart. The sky filled with streaks of light that flashed sometimes more bright than the sun. The heavens broke open and the rains once’s again flooded the land. On the second day, the child arrived in the great canyon of the river. There was a huge cave in the wall of the ancient exposed rock and the falcon sat waiting.
He had heard from the swallows of her arrival. “How can I help little one,” asked the falcon? The child told the story of the Sleepy Turtle and that only it could save the lives of the animals of the forest, deserts and streams. The falcon looked at the sky and knew that there was little time left. “I will fly faster than time,” said the falcon. The child was grateful for the eagerness of the falcon to help her friends. She jumped onto the falcons back and he jumped off the cliff and soared so fast the world became a blur. In less than the blink of an eye, they arrived, but where was the Turtle? In a dream, the child was given a small pan flute by a native she met. He told her it would help her when she needed a miracle.
The child reached into her sleeve and there it was. She pulled out the flute and an enchanting melody shook the land. The earth shook, the sky rumbled and the clouds flashed. Huge landslides tumbled down and when all was quiet… an eye opened like a giant mirror and the child saw herself but not as she knew herself. She was a beautiful woman with long hair as black and silky as the otters tail. The eye blinked and more earth fell from the huge figure they were standing on. The clouds flashed and the rain began again. The last of the trees and rocks fell away as the earth beneath their feet shook violently again. A sleepy old turtle rose from the land and on its tremendous back was a whole world of lush green trees and high top mountains, deserts and valleys, rivers, lakes and streams tumbled down the craggy peaks on its back. It opened its eye again and spoke softly in the child’s mind so only she could hear. “Your friends are fine.” The child let a single tear fall. The turtle told the child that a deal had been struck with the elements created by the sorrow of Mother Earth and Father Sky. The clouds flashed once more and the ground trembled but not a drop of rain fell.
Many, many long years ago, Mother Earth was a small child herself and was cast out by an old witch and her father was never seen again. She was thrown into the primordial seas and left for dead. The huge ancient beings with wings tried to save her, the fish of the ancient sea couldn’t hold her above the waves and angry wind blown seas. Finally a giant otter appeared and knew the only creature that could save her and dove deep into the inky Black Sea. All the fish and flying animals took turns helping the young child to stay afloat. She finally could no longer stay awake and drifted off into a deep dreamless sleep and slid beneath the water. As the otter rose out of the darkness she brought with her a huge sea turtle that had been asleep on the sea floor for years untold. It rose to the surface with enough fertile soil to sustain life and the small child. She grew and created a world of beauty. It was grief that has brought this suffering to your friends.
The turtle lumbered off to where the lagoon and forest met. The earth had risen up above the angry waters and her friends had gotten on with their lives as if nothing ever happened. The child turned to the giant old turtle and put her hand up, the turtle laid his head gentle on her hand and he fell back into his deep, deep slumber.
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.
One day, a small child was walking along the beach.
She was very sad
So sad, as she walked huge tears fell from her eyes and filled an ocean
The animals of the forest and streams came to see if they could comfort her but they didn’t know what to do
So the child turned towards the ocean and began to walk
She walked and walked until the animals of the forest and streams could see her no longer see her
The child began to see the most wonderful things
There were turtles and fishes, dolphins and whales
She was floating in the ocean
Watching as the colors were illuminated by the sun as it’s splintered light entered the ocean
All at once, the child realized she was running out of air
First the turtle came to see what he could do
But he found his flippers couldn’t hold her up
The turtle swam off to get help
The child began to feel tired and began to drift off
She was dying and she didn’t understand
She tried to breathe but the water filled her lungs
Soon the whale came back with the turtle
They saw the child floating lifeless
They were very sad
The whale drew on his vast knowledge and opened his mouth
He gently scooped up the child and began his journey to the surface
The small child woke up and felt a soft surface in the dark
She snuggled up and began to dream
In her dream she was playing in her favorite field of daisies
The butterflies tickled her nose
As she looked up in her dream to see the sun
The whale opened his mouth
He stuck out his long tongue and watched the small child walk to the beach
She turned around and saw the whale
The animals of the ocean gathered around the whale
There were dolphins and turtles
Whales and fishes
Underwater flying animals with big wings of black and white
There were fishes of all colors and shapes
She giggled as the flying fish performed tricks
The whale softly spoke in whale talk
He thanked the child for creating the ocean with her tears
He told her a secret and the child smiled
Her tears dried and she found peace in her heart