Nothing New Under The Sun
Well, time flies, as they say, and it has been quite some time since I made a blog entry.
It has been a very challenging time, but not without moments of joy.
The front cottage gardens have been very healing for me this year and for many passers by who stop to see what is blooming. It is satisfying to see people cheer up when they see the gardens here.
We are now in what the Chinese call, Late Summer, the 5th season.
It is my favorite. There is a quiet to this time of year, a peace...
The roses have continued to bloom throughout and have the sweetest pure scent. Something about these beach roses is magical and the rose hips are huge and very nutritious!
But I am not going to write about the gardens now.
As it sometimes happens, I was cleaning out my pantry, going through all the jars of herbs, teas, flipping through the cookbooks, herb books, tea books, when suddenly I had the urge to write down some thoughts, memories, reflections.
So that is what this blog will be and it will be Part One:
In 1976 I made a plan with a friend to travel out to Idaho to a place called The School Of Country Living.
Truly, I was born a naturalist.
The saving grace of my childhood was nature.
From the time I could walk,I spent most of my waking hours outside, communicating with every manner of insect, animal, plant and elemental. I remember as a toddler, lying down in my mother’s flower beds and seeing so clearly the petals and leaves as if magnified and putting my whole face into ground phlox and breathing in their sweetness.
A huge plus was that I had a pony, a 10 acre backyard and conservation land across the street with old railroad bed paths and riding trails through the woods. There is absolutely nothing that compares to being alone in the woods trotting along on and reciting poetry to your pony, singing with the birds and letting your imagination run along with you.
Although I was not a true child of the 60’s, as I was too young, I was still influenced by the movement…return to nature…respect the earth…This was my language!
My mother had an organic garden and I would read articles in the Organic Gardening magazine that she had a subscription to while I ate fresh cherry tomatoes off the vine. I was also reading Thoreau’s Walden that had become my bible, and I was reading the Bible and the Tao Te Ching and The Prophet, Blake, Wordsworth, Frost, listening to Carole King, Simon & Garfunkel, Jimi Hendrix, George Harrison, Carlos Santana, as well as Chopin, Bach, Mozart, and a good measure of Miles Davis and Herbie Hancock, all so appealing to my yearning,
The ocean was 20 minutes away and as I entered the even more intense, tumultuous teenage years of angst and inner torment, going to walk on the empty beach, off season, was the best therapy.
So just after high school, I worked 3 jobs to save money for a year while my friend finished her last year of high school. When she graduated, we would get bus tickets and travel cross country to our dream school and learn to be self sufficient . This was a true education, practical and meaningful. I would come back and create my country life of self sufficiency! I would live as Thoreau had!
Life has always had a way of redirecting me when I have a plan that I believe is meant to be.
My friend’s parents gave her a plane ticket to Idaho for a graduation gift.
Needless to say, this was, at my tender age and state of being, a devastating blow. The whole plan to travel on a bus across the country together was as much a part of this adventure as the school itself.
I wished her well and made a plan with another friend who was finishing up at college in Ohio for the year and would be traveling by car with her boyfriend cross country to Montana. They had summer jobs at Glacier National Park. Somehow I would find my way to the school by heading out west with them.
I want to stop here to say that I was still in the midst of the inner angst years with many deep philosophical ideas, lofty ideals, and a tremendous amount of longing. For what? I longed for truth, THE TRUTH, the purpose and meaning of life, the direction my life should take, clarity, freedom…
After a tense, several days ride with various bickerings between the couple, some car break downs, some bad road food, way too much Grateful Dead , mixed in with some beautiful scenery, we ended up in a little town in Wyoming. I had decided I was probably not going to find my way to The School Of Country Living after all. I could go to Glacier, but was feeling third wheelish …
We found a pizza place. The pizza was delicious, especially with the cold frothy pint of draft beer. We played pool and finally relaxed and were all able to enjoy each other again.
My friend was thumbing through the newspaper & found an ad for jobs in Yellowstone Park.
So the decision was made, as most decisions were at that age, on a whim, that I stay in that little town and they would drive on to their jobs at Glacier. A little tipsy from the beer and from the sense of mystery & adventure, I hugged my friends, and waved until they were out of site.
I found a sweet looking place with cabins and knocked on the main house door.
The woman was looking behind me and beyond.
Apparently she was looking for my parents.
I was 18, but petite and freckled, and well, I looked about 12 years old.
I showed her my ID and she put me in the cabin closest to her house and said I should be close if I needed anything, and was I sure I would be alright?
How can I describe the feeling I had after paying for my own cabin, in Wyoming, thousands of miles away from home, completely alone for the first time in my life?
The first thing I did was to take out my map from my backpack, open it up and spread it out on the bed, circled my home town on the East Coast, and drew a very long line to where I was, in Wyoming.
My heart was exploding with excitement!
I could hear water rushing behind the cabin.
It was dark when my friends and I parted, so I had no idea what my surroundings were.
I went out the back door and there was a huge waterfall just a few feet beyond the back porch!
The air was like nothing you have ever encountered unless you have been at this elevation in the mountains, fresh and crisp, and filled with the scent of conifers, wafts of woodsmoke, and in this place, the moisture from being so close to the waterfall.
And then, the sky, THE SKY. I now really understood why it was called Big Sky! Never had I seen so many stars or that expanse of open space. As if on cue, a shooting star made its way dramatically across that expanse. The tears of joy & wonder flowed freely down my cheeks.
Cozied into the little creaking bed, the comforting smell of weathered cabin wood, the waterfall singing away outside the back door, the anticipation of finding my way to Yellowstone Park in the morning for a job (doing what, I had no idea!) I slept, like the baby I was.