Gratitude and Grace

Sunday morning, we rose early to a moist wrap of fog and flotilla after flotilla of pelicans flying by our deck by the bay.  We counted fifty pelicans in some of the groups, and there were also individuals, couples, and smaller gatherings of flight.

We didn’t know if it was a wider circle than we saw coming from the sunrise and heading west so we were seeing the same ones more than once, or whether each one was unique to us, but I was reminded of Rachel Carson’s book Silent Spring where she pointed out that DDT was destroying our wildlife.  Rachel’s book saved the pelicans, osprey, and other creatures and birds, and now we watched groups of as many as fifty birds swoop by, some high and some low just skimming the water.  It was as exhilarating as a fireworks display, and quieter though we did hear the swoosh of wings.  

One seal bobbed in front of our deck, also entranced.  

It’s a different rhythm in Sausalito than West Marin and yet again there’s the rhythm, motion, and comfort of the waves and changing tides.  We took this week to reflect back on over fifty years of knowing each other and what that means.  We honored how we each contain both young and old. As Steve’s doctor reminds him, we’re not in the “young sapling stage of life”, and yet, there is a resilience, a reception as of the waves reaching and changing the shore.

It’s been a beautiful week as the planet shifts now in its reception of light. I feel refreshed and invigorated, calm and motivated, both young and old, as my individual wave connects with other waves and this whole planet we share.

A friend proposes we give ourselves time with photos and texts of and about Black people, note what comes up and how we feel.  How do we embody the experience of another?  How do we cultivate presence in ourselves while we take in and empathize with the experience of another?  How do we reap kindness and root?

The fog is in this Monday morning where I live, and I’m grateful for the wrap as I give my heart space to open and feel a little more of the gift of each breath and the gratitude that nourishes each life as we pause to open and receive.  I believe I need to give myself time for reception and absorption, and so I do.

These are complex times as we navigate opening to lives other than our own. May we be kind.

Saturday morning sunrise over San Francisco Bay
Saturday morning
Birds of Paradise facing the rising sun
Ivy finds a spot to root and grow

And then I stopped taking photos, and seeped in simplicity absorbing what’s written and taking place in and on my inner and outer walls. Gratitude and grace – two pillars anchoring unity and diversity in ourselves as shown in rocks.

In a Zen garden!

Peace!

Passage

Steve and I were married 50 years ago tomorrow.  Because of the pandemic we chose not to travel so we celebrated at Nick’s Cove and now tonight and tomorrow night we’ll be in Sausalito.  50 years seems unimaginable but it was 1971 and this is 2021.  Gold.

And now our anniversary will always be a federal holiday.  How gratifying it is to honor two momentous events.

50 years allows one to experience highs and lows and inbetween.  May we all be well and happy, celebratory and appreciative of what comes our way, the seasons and tides our guides.

Great Blue Heron feeding at low tide
High tide looking down from the pier
Egret feeding!
Sunrise with high tide on approach – the rock covered and uncovered with two highs and two lows each day

Return

Home now, there’s heat, but when evening comes and I go outside, it’s cool and there’s a half moon in the still blue sky.

I open Mary Oliver’s book A Thousand Mornings: Poems.

Three Things to Remember 

As long as you’re dancing, you can 

break the rules.

Sometimes breaking the rules is just

extending the rules.

Sometimes there are no rules.

Each wave, a light

Pt. Reyes and Tomales Bay

We’re home now to heat, 92 degrees, after two glorious nights at Nick’s Cove on Tomales Bay.  We left here early on the 15th, the day CA reopened.  Stopping at The Parkside in Stinson Beach for breakfast, we were greeted with smiles.  Because we were the first people inside in all this time, they took our picture and fed us for free.  What a treat!

We headed up the coast and out to Abbott’s Lagoon where patience allowed us to see a mother otter with two pups swimming and then climbing up onto the sand dune, and then back into the water.  

We checked into our abode, pure heaven, and as though on a boat lived enchanted as the tide moved in and out.  

Nothing to do and nowhere to go.  Rhythm slowed as we watched the sun, moon, and stars, and even saw the Milky Way, a glow in the sky.  

Heading towards Abbott’s Lagoon
Look closely to see Mama Otter and her two babies
Look in the water
Crossing over
Otters on the dunes
Evening comes
Sunset
Morning
Another sunset
Morning again as the earth turns and we do too!

Trust

I was awake in the night and rising, felt called to move and massage my spine and sacrum with the air and the floor.  Gravity was a cloak pulled back and forth.

Then, sitting in a chair next to a bookcase, one book called to me.  Awakening the Spine by Vanda Scaravelli.  

“The pull of gravity under our feet makes it possible for us to extend the upper part of the spine, and this extension allows us also to release between the vertebrae. Gravity is like a magnet attracting us to the earth, but this attraction is not limited to pulling us down, it also allows us to stretch in the opposite direction towards the sky.”

We see it in nature, plants rising up.

I watched the movie “The Courier” with Benedict Cumberbatch.  I recommend it as an example of courage, and what one or two people can do to change our world.

Unfolding the Rose

Blueberries

Morning

We rise early these days.  Today I realized I had the idea it would keep getting lighter and lighter, earlier and earlier, but as with life, there’s change, so we have these lengthening days until the 21st and then a shift backward again, a slide back to dark.  I light a candle this morning in honor of all the ways to light.

Because we’re on water rationing, I’m out early to give the plants a drink, rare now as twice a week is their gift.  Roses are blooming.

Driving down to Menlo Park this week, I was listening to “Oldies but Goodies” when the song “Eve of Destruction” by Barry McGuire came on.  Released in 1965, it’s sadly appropriate today.

For some unknown reason, WordPress is not working correctly for me these last few days.

This African saying calls:  The times are urgent; let us slow down.

Ridge changing to gold

Empathy

I’ve been working/not-working with presence, cultivating and allowing its flow and movement, its ease.  

Today I read these words of the poet Nikki Giovanni – “Writers don’t write from experience, although many are hesitant to admit that they don’t. … If you wrote from experience, you’d get maybe one book, maybe three poems. Writers write from empathy.”

Empathy.

Reflecting on it, I feel the connection between presence and empathy, the way to widen presence in this whirled world.  

with the tides

What Drives Us

When I was young we loved to pile into the car for a drive or road trip.  Drive-in movies with homemade popcorn were a special treat.  We’d play in our summer pajamas on the swings and playground equipment until the light dimmed, and then we’d run to the car to snuggle in.   I remember the magic and delight of watching Cinderella on the big screen with the sound popped right into our station wagon.  

I used to love to drive but traffic has become such an issue that sitting stopped has taken away the appeal, but my nineteen month old grandson loves cars.

Watching him, I’m entranced with all the levers and gears, the technology that moves us from place to place.  He holds the car keys, and puts them in the slot, or in a more modern car, touches the screen. 

I think what a marvel a car is, realizing it contributes both to our autonomy and a sense of isolation.  We are pilots of our destiny, well, until we hit another red light, or a traffic jam.  For now though, it’s fun to travel the roads of imagination.

Playing with the Wind

I spent yesterday with my grandson who is now 19 months old.  He loves wind chimes so I’ve created a forest of them here at my home.   He has one at his house that celebrates children.  If you want a wind chime, this is one place to go. There are many. People love wind chimes.

https://cosanti.com

I’ve given this little being our children’s giant tinker toys.  They’re huge. He or his dad had put four sticks together with two wheels to look to me like fancy barbells but to Keo they were drums.  He drummed away , each drum separate or one placed on the other, and then, he lifted them one by one and pointed, “Up!”

Naturally I obey his every suggestion, and since we were outside, I saw some hooks and nails along the covering for the deck, so I maneuvered this way and that until I figured out how to hang the drums.  They looked slightly strange hanging there all a-kilter, so I didn’t take a picture but this morning it hit me.  If the wind can play chimes, why not drums?

The news these days is sobering as our President works to keep our country a democracy with freedom for all.  I nourish on a child in the park, on children everywhere.

Reflection

I always leave this day, Memorial Day, open to contemplation as present and past join hands.

I believe in the words of the Jesuit scientist Teilhard de Chardin: “Love is the physical structure of the universe.”

May love allow us to better balance this world we share.