Pause and Reflect

Must be the weather, but already I’m reflecting on the insanity of this past year. Not just the straight up dirt adventures, I’ve also been going through an adventure/transformation within my soul, which the dirt has definitely attributed to. I’m adding skills and experiences so I can play a much bigger game. It’s been strategic and has felt totally right yet I am not afraid to admit I’m completely vulnerable and don’t know what I’m doing. Instinct and intuition are very real things and I have been trusting mine more and more. I’m listening now, intently. What follows below are some outtakes and b-sides because I too soon forget about the progress I’ve made and don’t celebrate nearly as much–my accomplishments.

Destination: San Francisco

Taking Highway 1 up the coast to San Francisco is a trip that I strongly believe we all need to take. I took my parents on it last Christmas, driving down the coast and my best friend Patty up it for a pre-Halloween road trip. I’d prefer to be a passenger so I can stare out the window uninterrupted, but alas, I had my chance already.

Patty - Highway 1
Patti – Highway 1

Destination: Point Reyes National Shore

My other best friend Colleen and I took a drive from SF to Point Reyes National Shore on an incredibly windy Sunday afternoon. It was a trek but worth it. We wound through thick forests of redwoods until the road opened up into this huge flat bluff that the ocean hid behind for quite a stretch. We passed fields of mule deer and cows of every color. Even this yapping dog, tied to tree added to the wildlife. We finally hit the dead end of the road at the path leading to a working lighthouse. The movie The Fog was partially shot there and it was the perfect setting for a horror film, very dreary and desolate. It was so unbelievably windy that we keep shrieking but the view was incredible with a flat coast line that went on forever. We went home, intent on watching scary movies and eating pizza but the wind was so bad that it blew the cable out, just in the beginning of Children of the Corn. Spooky.

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Destination: Joshua Tree – Lost Horse Mine Trail

Post-Graduation celebration from Wilderness Travel Course, hung over, I managed to take one photo from the Lost Horse Mine trail that culminates at an actual fenced off, preserved mine. I’ve been watching the Ken Burns documentary on the National Parks and it has been enlightening. People go to these parks now, to experience beauty and peace. But back then, there was a huge struggle over keeping these parks sacred because the land was overflowing with resources. Fossil fuels, wood, water, mines of gold, buffalo… all of it was in demand. It is amazing that any land got protected because these settlers were relentless, eventually turning Native Americans into tourist attractions and driving them into reservations.

Yucca, hung-over
Yucca, hung-over

Destination: Topanga State Park

To learn more about the Santa Monica Mountains, I enrolled in Docent Training at Topanga State Park. I leave there feeling so inspired and alive to the world around us. On our bird walk we identified about 25 different species of birds. During our mammal talk, when Nature of Wildworks paid us a visit with a bunch of rescued animals, I was deeply moved by the barn owl. I stood 3 feet away from her presentation the entire time, absolutely in awe of these animals. This owl was stunning and I almost cried when she was able to pet her head and the owl closed her eyes, clearly in bliss. I love animals so much, it makes my heart want to blow up. I could barely handle being so close to the owl, falcon, opossum, opossum babies, skunk, kestrel and hawk. Birds of prey are becoming my favorite thing ever. I want to be a bird so bad. I get jealous of them when I bird watch in my back yard. They sing and fly all day long… what a life!

Fidel the Kestrel
Fidel the Kestrel
birds pant when they are nervous
birds pant when they are nervous
Dancer, the barn owl
Dancer, the barn owl

Destination: Griffith Park, Los Angeles

There is this sage/guru/angel who frequents my night hikes in Griffith Park. His name is Moshe and he is an older Israeli man that is soft spoken, kind and extremely wise but with a bit of an edge and not afraid to speak his mind about what bothers him. He has taken a liking to me for some reason and we spend the entire hike talking, him more than me. Even though sometimes I just want silence, I have to welcome it. People like him are an anomaly so I remain open to receive his messages and there are lots. Sometimes my head wants to explode from them. People are so generous, if you let them be and just take it in. He has this amazing memory, spouting off quotes, verbatim. Like, “if all you see are obstacles then you aren’t keeping your eye on the goal.” Stuff like that. I’m a sucker for stuff like that.

Los Angeles, via Griffith Park
Los Angeles, via Griffith Park

I woke up today from a good sleep feeling completely at peace. With a Best Coast song singing in my head, I could have still been dreaming but I was totally awake. So grateful and happy. There is a lot that gets me hung up on a daily basis because transformation is never easy but that moment, in my bed, before the daily grind started to turn, I was okay. It’s all going to be okay because when you live from the heart it can’t be anything but okay.

Baxter Street stairs, Echo Park
Baxter Street stairs, Echo Park
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