Pilgrims progress…

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Progress is a noun, describing forward movement achieved. It’s also a verb, when the accent is on the second syllable, meaning the act of moving as it is occurring. Like sharks swimming in the sea, we have to keep moving or we die. And pilgrims are simply people who are doing the moving with awareness. Unlike vagabonds, pilgrims have a purpose, if not a specific destination. And it is all about the journey and the mindfulness we can bring to it.

Travelling full time in our motorhome is a singular experience. Our lives have been stripped of many non-essentials, possessions, obligations, expectations. Our knapsacks get lighter every day. Yet the experiences of simply living, the exquisite preciousness of the ordinary and mundane wash over us like waves filled with awe and gratitude. To have heat, light and water are wonderful things. And oh! the sheer joy of being level! Food in the fridge and clean clothes! Rain on the roof while we’re sleeping. The brilliant colors of sunrise and sunset framing each day like a jewel.

We know we’re blessed. We’re paying attention. It seems the least we can do.

Embracing Opposites

91D71225-06A1-4C90-9F00-8D3044CE7AF4Enya sings a song that, from my first hearing, even before I discerned all the lyrics, captured my attention and my heart. “Anywhere Is” was written by Nicky Ryan, Roma Ryan and Eithne Ni Bhraonain. The photo above is Henry Harvey’s “Moon Waves.”
I walk the maze of moments
But everywhere I turn to
Begins a new beginning
But never finds a finish
I walk to the horizon
And there I find another
It all seems so surprising
And then I find that I know
You go there you’re gone forever

I go there I’ll lose my way
If we stay here we’re not together
Anywhere is

The moon upon the ocean
Is swept around in motion
But without ever knowing
The reason for its flowing
In motion on the ocean
The moon still keeps on moving
The waves still keep on waving
And I still keep on going

You go there you’re gone forever
I go there I’ll lose my way
If we stay here we’re not together
Anywhere is

I wonder if the stars sign
The life that is to be mine
And would they let their light shine
Enough for me to follow
I look up to the heavens
But night has clouded over
No spark of constellation
No Vela no Orion

The shells upon the warm sands
Have taken from their own lands
The echo of their story
But all I hear are low sounds
As pillow words are weaving
And willow waves are leaving
But should I be believing
That I am only dreaming

You go there you’re gone forever
I go there I’ll lose my way
If we stay here we’re not together
Anywhere is

To leave the tread of all time
And let it make a dark line
In hopes that I can still find
The way back to the moment
I took the turn and turned to
Begin a new beginning
Still looking for the answer
I cannot find the finish
It’s either this or that way
It’s one way or the other
It should be one direction
It could be on reflection
The turn I have just taken
The turn that I was making
I might be just beginning
I might be near the end.

Here’s a link to the YouTube version:

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Arizona Highways

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We visited last week at 5000 feet in the pine and cedar forests of Payson, AZ at our niece Linda Mills’ house. She has a lovely, comfy home at the end of a culdesac where it’s quiet and cool. We played with her great dog Cody, shopped, prepared and ate meals together, sat on her porch in the early evenings and listened to the birds and enjoyed the gentle breeze. Before we left she got out her tools and installed our new fire extinguisher and repaired our screen door. Things that would have taken us hours to accomplish, if we could have done them at all, she made look easy! It’s been a peaceful, loving week and we are so grateful for her hospitality and unassuming goodness.

Yesterday we headed southwest through Mesa, where we picked up our provisions, made it through the middle of Phoenix on the freeway, and then back out to the open desert for a total of almost 300 miles before arriving just 10 miles from Mexico in Yuma, AZ. We stopped in Gila Bend for a late lunch at Humberto’s and had a delicious burrito and yummy rolled tacos. Things were going swell until late in the day, and at the extreme end of my availabile energy and attention, both the GPS and my husband insisted that our destination lay in the middle of a cornfield on a dirt road too narrow to get out of without backing up for half a mile! Sigh. And the resort’s phone is answered by a machine which says they’ll call back. Maybe. Sigh. But, as I like to say a lot these days, there’s more than one way to do absolutely everything! After turning off Google Maps and asking my darling to just be quiet, please, and let me think, I discovered a map feature on the resort’s website which gave different (and more accurate!) directions to our destination. Praise God!

So, because of our delay, we arrived after the registration office was closed. Sigh. But all is not lost. A camp host came swiftly to our rescue and got us registered, assigned a lovely spot with a view of an enormous grassy field out our kitchen window, a spot which is close to the pool and laundry facilities, has clear sky access for our satellite dish and then he even provided us with glossy magazine information about how to walk across the border into Los Algodones, which is apparently a haven for retired gringos looking for inexpensive and expert medical services not covered by Medicare.

So, here we are. It was warm enough last night to leave all our windows open, which means it will get hot enough today to close it up and turn on the AC this afternoon. We’ll check out the pool (natch!) and read up on border crossings. The whole conversation about immigration and walls and troops is brought into sharp focus in my mind. I wonder how we will be received as visitors on their side when things are the way they are on this side. I must look up how to say “Sorry!” in Spanish.

Sometimes we marvel at our own audacity. The choices we make, the adventures we have, the obstacles we surmount are really rather remarkable when we consider how predictable our lives were for so many years. I’ve been sitting here writing in the predawn quiet. Roosters are now crowing, rosy fingered dawn is emerging, a trash collecting truck can be heard in the distance and my coffee is gone. Gil has awakened and joined me and a new day has begun…

 

Let it…

50AD9C82-07D1-4CE2-8477-7A8D89369C9AIn the predawn hours, I sit quietly and notice the worlds within and without me. Wind rattles the handle on our closed awning against the side of our motorhome. I feel the gentle rocking and I relax into it. A train rumbles in the distance, moves closer, and louder, the whistle blows once, twice, three times, and the rumbling recedes into the silence again. I don’t know where it came from, what it’s carrying, where it’s gone. I simply notice.  The muscles in the left side of my neck and shoulder feel tight. Actually, they hurt. Gently I turn my head in that direction, ease into it and release the tension. It hurts less. Gil interrupts my reverie with questions about where we’ll go tomorrow, when we’ll leave, what he’ll wear. I answer patiently. Then he asks me to explain the end of the book we finished yesterday. He interrupts my answer and I resent that, and I respond with irritation. And the whole point of this writing is brought into sharp focus. When I allow, when I notice, when I let it be, I am at peace, harmoniously in synch with all that is. When I resist, my heart closes, my head pounds, my body tenses and I hate who I’ve become. Today I let that out, told him how I felt, hoping he would understand and empathize … and change. Instead, the look of confusion and sadness in his eyes told me he had no clue what he had done wrong nor how to fix it. Sad puppy-dog eyes. No one kicks the puppy. But one sometimes kicks oneself.

Dawn came. Breathing slowed. Heart opened. I spoke soft, reassuring words to my dearest friend and longtime beloved. Peace reigned. And, slowly, like releasing a tense muscle and leaning into the pain, I forgave myself.

I still don’t know where the train came from, or where it went.

Another Day at the Pool

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There was another couple at the pool last week when we went for our dip. In their late twenties or early thirties, they were experimenting with new snorkeling gear they said they’d bought on EBay. They practiced getting the fit right, holding their breath for dives to the bottom of the pool and clearing their masks and snorkels. We asked where they planned on using their equipment as there wasn’t much to see in our little pool. They told us of wanting to go to Hawaii, past trips (for him) in the Caribbean, how fun it is to feed the sting rays while standing on a sand bar, miles away from any “land” and how you position your hand like you’re feeding a horse, but it feels like a vacuum cleaner sucking at your palm. The four of us floated around and talked of many things: jazz and who was really genius versus the merely great; the film industry and how he loves to write and direct movies which, sadly, we have never seen; how we are all orphans with no parents among us still living and how that feels… She reminded us we needed sunscreen. I had forgotten to bring any. She had us use hers and supervised us getting all the parts of our faces covered the way you help a small child who, nevertheless, wants to do it herself.  Gil got chilled and we moved to the spa to warm up and our conversation flagged. Before we left for home, I asked their names and told them ours. First names only.

When we used to take our granddaughter Aiden to the park she always made friends readily. They would meet and greet and move forward together, talking, playing, getting drinks of water, laughing and expressing tender concern if one got hurt on the equipment. She could tell me their favorite color and how they smelled when I’d ask her about her new friend on the trip home, but she could never tell me their name. It seems that wasn’t an important piece of information to share and they never got around to it. She was surprised I’d asked about something as inconsequential as a name.

When we walked back from the pool to our home, I realized that I wished I hadn’t asked that couple their names; it actually felt friendlier before I knew.

 

Quo Vadis?

F3C651FF-DF1D-4A3F-B1F1-5F0F972AF9B0“I know where I’m going and I know who’s going with me. I know who I love and my Dear knows who I’ll marry…” Traditional Irish Ballad

New moon. Planets going (or in) retrograde. Equinox aready in the wings. A quickening. Sap rising. A sense of expectation…

Sometimes I think I live my life in song, the lyrics anyway.

“It Might As Well Be Spring” ~ restless as a willow in a windstorm

“Spring Can Really Hang You Up The Most” ~ spring is here, there’s no mistaking, robins building nests from coast to coast

“In The Garden” ~ and he walks with me and he talks with me and he tells me I am his own

“Side By Side” ~ Oh! We ain’t got a barrel of money
Maybe we’re ragged and funny
But we’ll travel along
Singing a song
Side by side
We don’t know what’s a-comin’ tomorrow
Maybe it’s trouble and sorrow
But we’ll travel the road
Sharing our load
Side by side

Thru all kinds of weather
What if the sky should fall
Just as long as we’re together
It really doesn’t matter at all
When they’ve all had their quarrels and parted
We’ll be the same as we started
Just travelin’ along
Singing a song
Side by side

Thoughts, like fragments of songs, go swirling through my head:

  • When we first wake in the morning or from a nap we don’t always know where we are on the planet or what time/day/month/year it is. Sometimes, if we stay inside our own little world, that doesn’t matter.
  • Clear priorities are a wonderful thing. We’ve each and both decided that nothing is more important than the other’s well-being. This simplifies our lives enormously and frees up great amounts of time and energy.
  • There is now an opportunity to examine previously unchallenged beliefs to check for accuracy and relevance. Lots of long cherished pedantry doesn’t make the cut. The origin of most erroneous belief is long gone; it is fascinating to discover the dogged tenacity with which we ourselves have perpetrated certain perversities of thought.
  • Our relationships with family and friends benefit from this gap in the space/time continuum as we no longer confuse other people’s choices with our consequences and thereby relinquish the illusion of or perceived need for control over others. This allows real connection and affection to flourish, not in spite, but because of the distances between us.
  • The tiniest moments and briefest gestures become exquisitely precious. There is heart-bursting joy and an upsurging, over-flowing gratitude and appreciation that wash over us like ocean waves all day long and well into the night until we simply have to rest from the sheer enormity of all the good in our experience.

Sometimes we almost feel embarrassed to be so blessed. Aren’t we silly?

 

 

 

LUV2YOU

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Some trucks have their owner’s name emblazoned on the side. Cabs have little signs that stick up from their roofs advertising stuff. Busses, too, sell space to get somebody’s message across. We just have our Nevada license plate which reads LUV2YOU on the front and back bumpers. Besides the obvious advantage of defusing others’ potential irritation at us for going too slowly or driving like tourists, which we always are, there is simply the benevolence of the thing. We intend to be a blessing, however small and perhaps insignificant, wherever we go. You never know who needs to be told they’re lovable.

We travelled 175 miles today, it being Wednesday, our moving day. We left Bass Lake, where it rained most of last week, at 9:00 am and headed west and south for dryer, warmer climes in Bakersfield, California down Highway 99. After another stop at Trader Joe’s for groceries, we checked in to the River Run RV Resort at about 3:00 pm. It’s a lovely place, right next to a hotel with both pool and spa heated and open to us. There are restaurants in the hotel, steak house and sushi, we’re told, in addition to the usual fast food fare. Our cell phones have signals, there’s free WiFi that actually works, a handy laundromat, our satellite antenna isn’t competing with too many trees for a view of the southern sky, 30 amp electric hookup, water and sewer all working perfectly and the pad where we’re parked is even level with no adjustments needed! It’s the little things that mean a lot! We’re no longer used to the sound of traffic though. When we were tucked in little out of the way spots where many of those aforementioned amenities weren’t available, it was, however, very quiet. Almost like quiet was a thing, the way noise is.

The picture above wasn’t taken here. I think it was taken somewhere in Oregon. We were too tired to go exploring and take pictures when we arrived today.  Maybe tomorrow, when we go to the pool. We like taking selfies while soaking, maybe you can tell that from previous posts!

But for now, I’m noticing (again) how much traffic sounds like surf…

And before we turn in, I just wanted to remind you of how very much you’re loved… Sweet dreams.