The other night, I sat with Jeff in our sunroom, with its windows overlooking the twinkly city scape. I had just read yet another horrible article about human greed and stupidity. As we talked, I noticed my eyes were darting back and forth over the buildings, looking at the lights, searching. And I recognized that it has been too long since I have gotten out. I can only cope with facing this world head on when I can relate to something bigger than humanity. I believe this is a need that we all have, although I also think it flies under the radar, too much of the time. For some, this need is filled through relationship with God. For me, it is through relationship with nature. Those two are not necessarily dissimilar.
The next morning, I went through our daily motions with restlessness, wondering what Fern and I should do with our day. I checked my voicemail and listened to a message from America, saying that yes, indeed, we should come up to Petaluma to see the lambies. She was sick and needing to take it easy, so I packed up some fire cider and immediately jumped in the car with Fern.
America greeted us at the door of her dreamy “little red house” (as Fern calls it), and my very bones relaxed at the sight of her warm smile. Inside it was toasty and filled with good soup smells. We had a pot of nettle and mint tea (with local honey in a jar that Fern absconded into a corner with) and I silently gave thanks for good conversation and the company of an ally.
Then, we all decided It Was Time to go see the lambies.
Like all children, lambs remind me of how amazing Life is. They frolic and bounce about, just for the sheer joy of being alive. It is THIS aspect of the world that deserves to be faced head on, as much as possible in every moment. I honestly believe it is the primary reason we are here. To be embodied and to delight in it.
The pasture was all puddly and stream-ey, so Fern decided to go fishing.
America and I chatted about those top 5 toys of all time, the stick being #1.
We had only meant to stay a couple of hours, but the day stretched on, and we headed home in the late afternoon. Meri loaned me a couple of books, Flight Behavior by Kingsolver and State of Change by L. Cunningham.
I expected to jump immediately into Flight Behavior, since Kingsolver is one of my all time fave authors. However, State of Change has grabbed me by the lapels and I can’t put it down. It is a somewhat brutal read for a heart already inclined to earth mourning. But her vision is extraordinary, and so I keep turning pages.
A paleontologist, she uses her phenomenal skills as an artist to paint the landscapes of California as they would have been before, well, the 1400s, the 1700s, the gold rush, industrialization. The images are awe inspiring, and they also strike out with what is lost.
According to written reports of “explorers” from those early days of “discovering” California, Bears…golden, black, grizzly...were so abundant that it was normal to see up to 50 a day, as a low expectation. I grew up in rural California. I have seen two bears in my life. One was in the Canadian wilderness. The other was dead on the side of the road.
Lagunitas Creek in Marin
All of the above images are by Laura Cunningham.
Reading State of Change, I am strongly reminded of how our current existence is one that we have little cellular memory for. We evolved with these bears, with the native grasses, with flocks of birds blocking out the sun, with shellfish so abundant that we could create monuments to our consumption. We need this earth and all its creatures. I need the wild…it’s how I remember I have a soul.
We drove home through the golden afternoon of late January. As Fern fell asleep in the back of the car, I took a detour onto San Antonio Road. There was an available property that I wanted to check out. As we twisted and turned along the road, my legs went cold and my heart pounded as I looked out on a landscape that I could call home. Who knows how it could manifest, but I want to find a home in this little valley south of Petaluma. My soul could find its God there.