Well, wouldn’t you know! Here I am, on the road, and deciding to post in the early morning from my motel room in Ukiah. Though from the title I give this post, it appears that there may be more, it’s not certain. Who knows! I might just get so swept up in the journey that I forget all about the blogging life. So, back to the tale:
Yep, I made it through that first day, that first 24 hours, despite the exhaustion, and the ungrounding, despite getting lost for 45 minutes in San Francisco in my rental car on my way from SFO to Hopland and the Solar Living Institute. I kept seeing that drat Golden Gate Bridge from odd perspectives — was either under it, or way south of it, or to one side or the other of it; I had even briefly mistaken the Bay Bridge for it, but then had a moment of sanity, realizing that bridge was much too long to be the Golden Gate — on and on, a very extended Neptunian moment until I finally, did consult mapquest. You’d think I’d have done that earlier, but no . . .
Okay, meanwhile, let me begin again. I did manage to get to sleep around 10 p.m. the night before, but then woke with a start a 1 a.m. Lay there tossing for an hour before finally getting up and going straight into my yoga/chikung/taichi practice (something BTW, I have already done this early morning). That helped, though was still feeling a bit woozy and having trouble facing such a long day at this advanced age. Yes, I AM feeling my 75 years. Just don’t have as much juice flowing through me. Must conjure it up. Okay, well, guess what happened next?
I walked into the kitchen to cut up an apple for a snack for my trip and, all of a sudden, a huge mama spider floats down a single line from the ceiling above the stove and parks herself right in front of my eyes, not even a foot away. Such a startling moment! Instantly, I was galvanized; whatever bleariness I had been entertaining vanished, right then, in that split second. I was so so so grateful! Grabbed a paper towel and carefully enclosed her, went out to the dark porch, and freed her off the side into the wild.
And then went to this machine and googled “spider symbolism” deciding to take to heart the first thing that came up. This did:
She even looked like the spider pictured, sort of stripey. Those three words: MYSTERY, POWER, AND GROWTH. I took them to heart, took them into my heart, which expanded to infinity, shedding a web of light fibers out to embrace, enclose and protect the space I would travel within.
If this sounds woo-woo, it was. Decidedly so. And it got me sailing through that day.
So finally, there I was, 13 hours later, sitting in the shade at the registration table at the Permaculture Convergence, waiting for them to find the man in charge, so that I could make sure the venue for my talk tomorrow (today, 9:30 AM PDT this morning) had a screen set-up for a slide show. Because that’s what I got, what I brought, stories, prompted by 144 slides of what has now evolved into GAPV, or Green Acres Permaculture Village from its start way back in 2009 with permaculture workshops at the GANG (Green Acres Neighborhood Garden).
That done, I wandered around for awhile, took a few pics of the natural building projects that dot the landscape of this place —
— and then ducked back under 101 to the parking lot and drove 12 miles to Ukiah and the Days Inn. (Young ones camp at the site.)
Then I did a really stupid thing: decided to walk, rather than drive, down the busy street I came in on to a supermarket that I happened to glance at on the way in, thinking it to be two blocks away. Hot out. Like 90°, but NOT midwest humid. Down past the ammo stores, the security company, the Democratic headquarters (!), the Ukiah Housing Authority, the Goodwill, to the Grocery Outlet Bargain Mart, and boy they aren’t kidding! And much of it organic! Mostly Mexican looking shoppers, everybody kind-faced, though worn down looking, and shopping at their locally-owned place. YES!
All through the trip, I kept having encounters with strangers, strong encounters, positive and intense. The woman on the shuttle bus with me to the Payless rental car place. She is a single mom of one son, whom she had at 39! — the age of the Uranus opposition! where those who choose to follow their destiny suddenly, shockingly, enter a new stage in life! — and is coming for one day to his Stanford orientation, after having sacrificed everything for him, and she is so proud! Showed me his picture. A beaming dark-skinned, round-faced boy, “hard-worker,” she tells me proudly.
I tell her about Crones Counsel, where I will be heading next, this year in Bellingham Washington, suggest she might want to come next year. Ask her age now: 58. I had already told her about the Uranus opposition, so of course I couldn’t resist telling her about the second Saturn return, between 58 and 60, when on an archetypal level, the female transforms once again, from Maiden (up to age 30), to Mother (to age 60), to CRONE! The wise woman of the culture, the stage that has been missing.
I had offered my place in line at the Payless counter to let her go first, since she is anxious to get to Palo Alto for those precious 24 hours with her son. So next in line, my turn; — where I had another intense conversation, this one with a young man from the Phillipines who asked me what I was doing there, and I told him about the Permaculture Convergence and he got VERY excited. Said he’d already had several young people go through the line who were headed there. Told me that he had been a vegan for the past year, despite living in his culture that loves to eat meat, principally pork, he says, and is feeling much better. That he never gets sick anymore! That led to the Green Acres Permaculture Village, my talk at the upcoming Convergence, and he got excited again, thinking of living in community on the land, working with the land, learning from the land.
Oh my! And those were just two of many encounters. The journey itself MYSTERY. The encounters POWER-ful, the the result, GROWTH, for me and others.
As I’ve said for many years, everything we do is an excuse for relationship. Yes. Everything we do here on this good earth is an excuse, for relationship with Her, and her Earthlings, including humans and spiders. We are so blessed.
Oh BTW: I can’t forget to tell you this. One of my mentors from afar, Joanna Macy, I discovered on my dusty walk into the Convergence (yes, we do duck under highway 101 from a parking lot to get there), turns out to be living in a situation much like ours here in Green Acres Village. I discover this from the young woman walking with me. It’s called Canticle Farm, and it’s square in the middle of Oakland. Their motto: One Heart, One Home, One Block at a Time. YES!