On the Solstice, December 21, I travelled with son Sean to Kripalu for 48 hours of yoga, massage, wonderful organic meals, treks in the rain up wooded hills and down to the Kripalu beach, and lots of great discussions, both while there and on the two-hour drive to and from.
But first, before making the drive, we took their incredibly energetic and muscular puppy Lily (ten months old? nobody knows for sure) for one of Sean’s ripstick adventures in the neighborhood.
Walking behind them, I remarked, after a particularly hairy turn, “That looks like it’s dangerous.” He responded, “That’s what makes it exciting.” Yep! Once again, the Uranus/Pluto Virgo part of him, courting danger with deft, precise moves, showed itself.
To get there, we had to walk down a long drive with humungous Concord-type homes leading off of it, on manicured acreages, all behind a beautiful moss-covered stone wall.
The kids were reluctant. “The sign at the entrance says “PRIVATE,” exclaimed Kiera. “Don’t worry about it,” said Sean. Drew lagged behind, probably on his iphone screen. Neither of them were exactly enthusiastic about the outing, though Sean had been talking about it since the day I arrived. He knew I would enjoy it as much as he does.
For part of the trek we were adjacent to a river. Never did get its name. Concord River?
But the great attraction was the meadow/wetland, for its wild life, specifically water birds. We did see duck, geese and heron. Meanwhile, Kiera also found two deer ticks on her jacket during the walk. This is not supposed to be tick season. One indication of the warm December. What’s next with the climate?
And do notice the chem trailed sky . . . I don’t talk about that here, with them, though I did mention it this Christmas morning on a walk with the kids’ mom Sue. It makes me heartsick, whenever I allow myself to feel what my grandkids are facing as they grow up in this geoengineered world.
Cattails (and chem trails).
At the eastern boundary of the refuge, beauty . . .
Oh! See the heron? It’s to the center left, just at the left edge of the island, between the island and the spit of land sticking out. You can just make out its long neck.
By this time the kids had come alive — and busy looking through binoculars — at first. But more and more, fooling around, colliding, racing, yelling, playing tag, singing raucously . . . And always, just in front of Sean and me, or just behind.
I was internally so annoyed at how they were spoiling my idea of a lovely contemplative walk by a wild wetland, that I didn’t even think to take pics of them — except for the one Kiera wanted me to take. “Take a picture of Drew and I from behind, sitting on that bench,” she instructed me.
Okay, so we walked along a bit further with them still horsing around either directly in front or behind us. Finally, both Sean and I told them them to back off — either go way ahead or way behind if they wanted to make so much noise and commotion.
They dropped back. Then started murmuring to each other. Sean said, “Did you hear what they said?” “No, what?”
“Drew said, ‘Well, we made them mad.’
“Kiera said, ‘Mission accomplished.’
“Drew shot back, ‘Cross that one off the bucket list.'”
They were having fun, just not our kind of fun. Fun at our expense. And yet, it’s good to see them so physically active, and playful, especially Drew, who spends SO much time on screens. At one point I murmured to Sean, after they had, of course, resumed their ill-treatment of us by oh so gradually increasing the volume, “Well, probably by next year she will no longer want to play with him like that.” (She is 15, straddling the stages of kid and full-on teenager.)
On the southern boundary we came upon the raised platform that we had seen with binoculars from the northern edge. Decided to climb it. And got to appreciate a gaggle of geese swoop in for a landing.
But those first three miles were just the warm-up for the finale, “Author’s Ridge” in a nearby cemetery. Sean was really looking forward to showing me this. And wow!
Thoreau! (he’s the one second from the bottom in a family (plot? stack?). The “authors” were obvious, since people leave pens as offerings.
Kiera and I toured the Alcott family homestead a couple of years ago, and were fascinated by the entire story — especially how Louisa supported the entire family with her writing, and, how, as a matter of course, she would walk the 14 miles to Boston — and back !— in a single day, lugging her manuscript to her editor. Of course, the patriarchal bias of this culture back then shows up in the cemetery! But not just back then. When I toured the cemetery at the Terra Haute campus of Saint Mary of the Woods campus during the Sisters of Earth conference three years ago, I discovered a flock of tiny tombstones (aged nuns who finally died), interspersed with tombstones of resident priests here and there, all of them much larger.
And finally, one of my great heroes, Emerson, a truly American philosopher — and, by the way, mentor to Thoreau, who was invited to stay in Emerson’s cabin on Walden Pond.
WHAT? ONLY ONE PEN?
I leave you with a great Emerson quote that reminds me of this changeover time from one year to the next.
Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could; some blunders and absurdities have crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; you shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.