Shasta Saturday Circa 13'
An Adventure While Traipsing through NorCal Summer 13'
“Later can't come soon enough”....
These words were a wafting communique from one enlightened newbie to the calming duo of Monica and Bonnie (aka Fawn and Harnessing Wind).
Back now amongst the quaintness of town, a temporal anxiety swept through me attempting to rob away the peace and tranquility I'd experienced further up the mountain. This infant knew now, that I have
the strength and the right to ward off this thought process. So away it went. Deliberately I flipped around to capture a shady spot along Main Street Mount Shasta to get down these thoughts;
The day's journey starts with a freeing chat over breakfast that opens the Spirit of this writer's world with continued direction of being in the now and seeing beyond a pre-programmed mentality, the morning unfolded as it was organically meant to be displayed. I was washed with a peaceful knowledge that Domino, my faithful companion for 7 years would be nestled nicely alongside Cyrus, his new best friend all under the caring and watchful presence of Jill… I was off to take on whatever the day had to offer…
A departure from the house had me making dilatory left turns, subsequently flipping around, delaying my ascension even more with a slight frustration beginning to build. After a respite in a parking lot, my travels were once again underway on this supposed journey of self-awareness.
My assumptions of self-importance would quickly seep
in as I, with the chivalry of a knight on a white steed, would offer to shuttle an aging bicyclist up the hill, as he was now dismounted and pushing his selected mode of transportation. A respectful scoff from him assured me that he was a local and this wasn't
his first ascent up the hill. I quickly covered my misplaced assumptions with a question to him to bolster my directional dilemma. I then once again continued my ascent up the mountain, on this supposed journey of self-awareness.
Recovering from this momentary tear in the fabric of my day, I looked up to see a female figure standing quietly, almost reverently, alongside the rear of her car. A recognition bulb flashed in my mind as it landed on the Spirit, Figure, and vehicle of Bonnie.
A serendipitous smile was shared & I am now parked alongside the road to the mountain I'm slowly, though with perfect timing now revealed, trying to ascend. A welcomed hug earnestly shared by all would only slightly give a hint on how connected the three travelers would be calm.
Bonnie with her peaceful existence, always present in a state of awareness, eager to share with the gentle swing of her delivery, had input on the most common of occurrences, however now with a new perspective shared, even those insignificant moments had an explanation or universal twist that before, I hadn’t been aware of.
Monica, from the moment I met her @ the Thai restaurant, presented like the time traveler from another place and time, here only to observe and dust those around her with the Zen-filled peace that came from an understanding, unforced though freely shared.
Both with continued travels on their own path were
more than gracious to spend time sharing and gifting their personal insights with me on this most uncommon of days.
Mother Mary, Buddha, a Peace Tower, a Zen-ful walk finished off with hundreds of shared prayer cloths would be the visual nutrients to accompany the enriching feeding of my starving spirit.
The aromatic presence of scattered lavender gave just the correct fragrance to this picturesque setting. Donated by a nearby homeowner, the 3 acres of cathartic gardens was under the watchful presence of a vibrant tree / vortex that welcomed you and was to be shared by all.
My receptors were opened in my moment within the tree and received loud and clear was the ‘universe is large enough to take care of me & there are multiple layers that need to be shed… Strategically placed throughout the Peace Park were granite benches, used as meditation stop-overs, prayer vehicles or writing posts for the prayer cloths, we found ourselves utilizing them appropriately.
Monica and I sat alongside one another with Bonnie on another, perched in front of Mother Mary, silently communing with the moment, our hearts and spirit in front of an overused icon with now, for me, a new perspective attached.
Moments later as Monica had sauntered off in a vertical trance to enjoy a moss covered labyrinth, slowly and meditatively,
Bonnie & I sat at yet another bench placement and spoke of timing in all things, enjoying the journey throughout and the pesky fly that kept landing on my head even beyond my attempts to swat it away. Much to my peaceful dismay, the fly was actually a
tailing from one of the prayer cloths, the writings from another’s heart, dancing on my head had leaned toward the ‘peacefulness of the path’…. Did I mention a serendipitous day?
With a sustenance stop at BarryVale the trio would once again, now joined as one, continue this supposedly, now confirmed, journey of self-awareness.
The conversation of subject would volley between outer galactic crafts residing in the lesser known, though highly sought out after, Black Butte Mountain. Back and forth the words would go, to the voice instruction techniques and how they differed between Monica and Bonnie. One would work with a spiritual sage giving homework assignments of “The Happy Song”, to the technologically captured voice trainings to be taken anywhere via your iPad.
The ascension continues to add feet up on feet and more feet to the theoretical altimeter clicking off in my head. With the periodic descending vehicle and the random skateboarder fearlessly barreling down the hill, I look back around to see a vehicle, parked in a turn out peacefully occupied by an elder woman with no apparent caring of time. Just then Bonnie, flushed with goose pimples announces that is Dorothea, her aforementioned spiritual sage voice instructor.
By the time she spoken her name, my mouth had opened and my voice had already spoken her name… Dorothea....
She would appear from the vehicle with a now more and more familiar Mt. Shasta peacefulness that was becoming the norm though very much a rarity in this chaotic world others chose to reside in. Her hair of white would frame the face of an oracle of sorts. The desire to hug her was selfishly motivated by the desire to glean from her just a thimble sized portion of whatever “IT” was that was certainly present. A sincere inquisition of our names and place of residence was far too obvious, as she’d already known of us and our crossing, this formality of questions was truly unnecessary.
Our travels would continue with various turn outs that with every pause in our travels, the mountains majesty of Shasta would be revealed more and more.
Local knowledge with a twist of humor filled color commentary was Bonnie’s forte, as it seemed somehow her energy thrived on the sharing of her tales and adventures doused beautifully with her love for Mt. Shasta.
From reconstructed spiritual grounds, to the entrepreneurial thoughts of her own tour business, Bonnie had stories that made for a wonderful condiment to this delicious outing.
Monica’s enigma would continue to reveal itself as the strong silent one, full of a spirit of acceptance to those things one can’t fully control, namely her temporal health hiccups. Proactively doing what she was called to do by her advisors, there was never a moan or disruption of the day, just the opposite actually, an ever present involvement in the shared journey.
As different thresholds of elevation came and went, the vistas revealed gave way to the expansive valley that unfolded beneath us. Avalanches in 78’ and 95’ created debris fields and devastated a proposed ski-village that would be a constant reminder of the realigning powers tucked away, just below the surface, created when Mt. Shasta’s chooses to do so. The beauty of her destruction is only to be experienced, as many have attempted to explain it and have fallen short.
Try as I might to capture within the flaps of my cameras shutter, the magnitude of this sleeping giant of over 200,000+ years old, it will always leave more for the imagination as to what is beyond the 4X6 photo frame. With every digital frozen moment it dawns on me that his is where I’ve felt most @ peace in a very long time. This community, this group of people, this mountainside, this slowness, this heart and soul of a village situated @ the foot of a volcano overdue for an eruption. Peace absent from my heart since having left Orcas Island some 20+ years ago. The difference now…. I can inventory and be blessed by this peace.
Never being a big hiker, my inflamed tissues surrounding my spine were singing loudly by now and there was no way I was going to have this be shared regardless of the back brace I sported that certainly clashed with my ensemble. Three decades of back drama does have me a bit limited, however I recalled numerous excursions where I chose to ‘sit this one out’ and finished my vacation with regret. Not this time tough. The trailhead was waiting!
Coming up on the Upper Panther Meadows is unlike anything I’d seen, not being a hiker and all, I’m sure there’s plenty of meadows, this just happened to be my first. Laid out in front of me was a carpeting of greys in the jagged rocks protruding from the subtle mounds of beautiful greens in grasses and ground covering. Complete with the ancient trees reaching for the sky and a smoothly flowing brook, I once again hurriedly reached for my camera as if this shot, thousands of years on waiting for me, was somehow not going to be there in the next instant.
It was here that a flushed feeling officially took over my body that I had previously been resisting, the giving over of my demeanor to some rigidness prior to this moment seemed now somehow a waste of time. We stopped long enough for me to snap a few photos and capture this meadow on video. The girls were kind enough have me be foreground, for the pan-shot.
Not a breath from the ladies, not a disruptive hiker from beyond would infringe upon this video, truly pristine as the setting itself. My body contorted to what felt like 300 degrees in an attempt to take this panoramic oasis home with me. I would later find out through the sharing of this with just about everyone else I spoke to, though majestic as the mountain is, the peace I felt, the meditative punch that I now have consumed could be obtained elsewhere as well…
Each stepping stone, natural in its placement, made for an easy traversing across this palette of beauty. Off in the distance was a natural spring that had, unbeknownst to me, become a homing device calling us over. By now I was well into my 4th hour of an outing that I had estimated would be two hours tops, as we arrived, we had disrupted a couple of criminally minded swimmers trespassing in this pristine waterway. They would scamper off, scrambling to get full dressed before we got much closer.
Step a few, snap a few, step a few more, snap a few more…. This went on across the divide of tree lines until we reached the bubbling spring. What it lacked in volume, it made up for in presence of peace. To think that this mountain would spew forth healing waters from deep within was enough for me to appreciate, shy of getting down into the spring and getting wet.
Once again, with a stealth-like quality, Monica meandered off to find a patch of mother earth to absorb into and become one in meditation with her. Unsure where Bonnie trekked off to, as she passed by me as I stood @ the headwaters of this fountain from within, my back to the trail, looking over the meadow and fountain.
The transition for some into a state of calmness had always been a point of envy for me, knowing full well that this and other attempts to empty my mind fell far short of their desired effect, so I chose to point and click off a few more pictures. I even steadied myself in a pre-contorted position to get another panoramic video.
The pan shot; started with a close-up of the spring waters emerging… pulling back from that with the sounds of the water trickling as the only sound-track needed the amateurish video wasn’t going to win an Oscar for best nature documentary.
Then left to right, a perfectly silent moment, only nature whispering into the shot, I could sense no-one around as the two ladies had moved on further up the trail……
Just then the most beautiful though haunting series of musical notes landed on my ear lobes, my video pan back to the left was softly redirected over to the right, from where I had sense the music had come from. Knowing full well Monica and Bonnie were off communing with mother earth, I, in this brief moment of panning back to my right had hoped they too were being serenaded by what I had imagined as a Centaur approaching playing a Shofar.
The pan of the camera continued right, now almost directly behind me, my body, with ease contorting to keep continuity of the shot came across the spiritual orchestra of one…. Bonnie. With her peacefulness of spirit, she would share the perfect intonations of notes that capped of the panoramic video.
The supposed drum stick I’d seen her carrying early went unquestioned as it was wrapped in a southwestern printed felt satchel of sorts. My assumption stemmed from her asking upon the departure from the car, if either of us wanted a drum. So my assumption was there’d be some universal drum up top of our destination and she’d bring her own ceremonial drum stick….
The musical fullness of each note filled the meadow as if Mother earth herself, reached out and placed each finger exactly where it was supposed to be. No scripting, stage setting or rehearsals could have pulled that off anymore naturally beautiful than it was.
For that, I’m forever thankful to Bonnie for the surprise and blessings…
By now my back was causing a visible wincing and I needed to sit for a bit, so my body found comfort of all places on an extra hard boulder alongside the artistry of Bonnie. Sharing her space freely, she began to tell of her Flute / Sedona journey and how it all came to in perfect synchronicity. The flushed feeling, almost removed from self once again sweeping through my being had me listening intently all the while swatting at an ever increasing number of flies.
2, 3, 4, 6 all at one time…. All touching down and crawling on my legs and shoulder, my mind racing on the hygiene factor of this, wondering if they were really there and if so why Bonnie wasn’t bothered by them. A sage-filled word from Bonnie was simple…. They’re drawn to light. The reflecting back to the bench earlier, where in fact it wasn’t even a fly and how a message of ‘peace along the pathway’ was delivered this must have been some sort of download I was about to receive.
Commenting on the flies, the passerby couple of Telosian decent, we noticed an approaching group of female hikers… at which time the winds had picked up slightly to welcome them. I suggested to Bonnie that she welcome them as well with a melodic open door to our little respite above the springs. ‘I can’t play in the wind’ was the burrowing thought settling in on her spirit. I couldn’t let this be as I know how I was blessed by those notes. ‘For some reason, I can’t play when it’s windy’, again with the denial thought and again me with my relentless egging on to try it….
As I bowed my head in a prelim quiet moment, once again, the earth tones straight from the mountain poured out of her Sedona flute. With my eyes closed, and my head bowed into my bunched up knees, I imagined the approaching women, walking up, soaking up the springs and the soulful notes and turning and walking away… Much to my surprise when I rose from my previous position to find all 7 of them, crouched, sitting and standing around the headwaters no more than 15’ away, SILENTLY absorbing the moment. Bonnie had done the impossibility created in her own mind; she had harnessed the wind to share her flute.
Bonnie, humbly modest, perhaps even naïve to her talents, look up at me, and whispered… ‘you were right’…. We once again began talking on the subjects of these types of moments. My closing comment referenced Monica’s ability to be gone, meditating and the enviable peacefulness I’d heard of from those who could slow their minds long enough to commune with the earth, deeply rooted, becoming one with their breathing.
Of course none of these fabricated excuses were being received by Bonnie. Her words of suggested breathing and becoming rooted in the earth echoed those of Jill’s from earlier in the day. Inhale for 3, exhale for 5, in for 3, out for 5…., and repeat, allowing your spine to merge into the soil, resting on the peaks and valleys of each breath. With no more excuses, off I went, to ascend further up the hill, off trail by now to find me the right spot.
The right spot? What does that look like to a slightly flushed mind, swarming with thoughts of flies and the beauties of the day? Regardless of what I may have had in mind, the Mini Cooper sized, flat boulder with a recliner feel wouldn’t have been my first choice. However it was has if my feet knew where to go regardless of my mind’s apprehension. I sprawled out, my ass situated in the crux of this stone, back flat against the backrest section, my face drenched in the afternoon sunshine and all I could think of was…. I lay here to long and I’ll be a human sundial.
As I reposition to the soil just below my butt, it dawned on me why the previous placement of self wasn’t exactly right…. The Mother Earth soil part was missing.
So…. Now I began, what truly would be my first real experience of meditating. In / Out… resting on the points…. 7800 feet above sea-level, Clearing my mind…. Seeing the roots take hold… feeling the very unnatural curve of my slumped over back become more and more comfortable the longer I remained in that position. Not one external stimuli, no road noise, no gadgets humming, no progress of the society that temporally was dormant almost 1.5 miles below.
The trek of relaxation would last for 90 minutes as I joined in on the noises of the mountainside, a periodic bird would make their presence known or the whisper of the wind would tease the back of my neck ever so slightly. What seemed like a flash of time was now lingering into a 2 hour travel of my mind, spirit and soul. Certainly unlike anything I’d experienced in any of my 51 years. The only disruption of silence was most assuredly from my assumptions, a fawn, slowly strolling through my earshot; I chose to stay slumped, eyes closed, imagining I had become one with the rock and so far unnoticed by the fawn out for her first official stroll.
As I once again, from afar, I heard the tones from Bonnie’s flute a soft alert called me to the surface of concerns that perhaps it had been long enough and the girls were ready to begin our descent. So I slowly lifted my head in hopes I would catch a trailing glimpse of the fawn sneaking out of my line of sight. Much to my surprise once again, it was Monica returning to Bonnie as well what with the beckoning bellows of her flute.
Our trio was reunited and the downward trek out to the car, down the hill and onto the evening’s plans for a meal shared with Carol and Jill, was now the focus. With a ceremonial removal of the back brace, as my discomfort had now completely disbanded, our travels were once again underway on this definite journey of self-awareness.
With no more than .25 miles down the road a stop alongside a placard, calling something out to us, I was drawn to a small congregation of Hispanics gathered around the picnic table, enjoying one another’s company as well as watermelon. This struck my eye with the simplicity of all white garments, all of them. I’d remember seeing a reference of white garments being a ceremonial garb, so it was truly innocent that I offer to them a photographer to somehow, in a westernized mentality, commemorate this occasion. Through my broken Spanish and their spattering of English we were able to do photos all around and wish one another continued blessings as we went our separate ways. One of those moments full of unanswered questions as to the why-for and how-comes.
A slight deviation from our Spain encounter, led us to another labyrinth, the lead position was offered to me to traverse this back & forth maze of patience and dedication, so I took the lead. Snaking to & fro around corners and turns the center was very near, my stick-to-it-of-ness had almost paid off, the girls support from behind. But, no!!!! Monica the quiet introspective one jumped a theoretical wall and into the center she stepped. A chuckle was shared, a bee-line for the exterior walls, through and over the interior fortress walls we went collectively, giggling and laughing as we continued down the hill.
Dropped off @ my truck, a gentle touch to Monica’s arm as it rested on the open window of the car door… my spirit spoke through my words when I said to them both;
“Later can't come soon enough”....