Sunday, January 31, 2021

The Soul of a Tree

Driving through one of the burn areas
Napa, Northern California




The Soul of a Tree 

I didn't know the soul of a tree burns within
until you took me there
A door appeared and vanished in the rough bark
I followed you closely, crawling inside reaching the core

We sat together nestled in this small space
 a marvelous orange glow of warmth sheltered us
I looked into your eyes, feeling at home
my hands received the blue sapphire
a gift you offered to me


I cradled it, protecting the emblem
We watched as the crystal breathed life
creating the deepest of blues from sky to sea and
brilliant lavenders birthed from a heaven of flowers
the circles of color and light weaved and danced


We watched the circles of lavender and blue light until they grew smaller
reaching backwards they returned to the blue sapphire
resting silent and still in the cup of my hands
Softly closing them together in my palm
I brought the blue sapphire close to my heart
where it disappeared as you whispered to me
I am with you now





 

Life of Dreams

Clouds behind Tree
Middletown
Northern California
On our way to the snow the other day


I want to live so many different lives in this one. It goes without saying that Scott is in every one of those dreams however impossible it seems.

I find myself grateful for this time to deepen my spiritual practice, my rituals, my meditations, my reading, the space to learn and create.

I dream of a small vineyard, a modest farmhouse, two horses, two dogs, a cat and flock of hens. Maybe a goat or two.

I dream of visiting friends on the East Coast than hopping over to Europe to visit Spain and Italy maybe work myself up North.

I dream of staying here in the San Francisco Bay Area where I was born and raised, exploring every inch of it, not missing a moment to see and experience every taste and sight of it.

I dream of leaving here and being with Scott immersed in the mystery, a dream that has no chance to be born until my own death falls upon me.

I dream of so many lives, a life of dreams. I've lived so many of them already. What dream will be realized next. This time, my hand is not in it, maybe it never has been. I feel I am guided forward, and backward, side to side, my life is not just my own, there are many orchestrating some sort of purpose for the rest of my time here, all towards doing good, being love, and finding healing.

In the meantime, between dreams, I live fully awake, looking for the miracles dancing around me. There are so many of them, I just need to keep my eyes and heart open to continue to see them.





 

Saturday, January 30, 2021

Muddy Horses

Napa Valley

On the back roads in Napa, I took photos of the first blooms of wild yellow mustard, the sleeping vineyards, the Mayacamas Mountains, and green valley. None of my photos turned out except for horses. That's okay. I love horses. I think the last time I petted a horse was when Scott took me to the Cornish Christmas in Grass Valley, California the Christmas before last. A policeman on horseback stopped in the middle of the fair, so visitors could take a selfie with his horse. I was able to pat the horse and touch his dark chocolate mane before I got pushed out from the crowd. 

At the Cornish Christmas in Grass Valley, it was the first time I tasted a smoke fired chestnut. It was a real chestnut roasting on an open fire like the song we used to sing in Glee Club at our annual holiday show in elementary school. When Scott found out I had never tried a roasted chestnut, he searched under the winter night sky until he found a tall older gentleman in a period costume, dressed in dark leather boots turning the chestnuts on an open pit fire in the middle of the road blocked in for the festival.  We waited, bundled up in the freezing cold, as he roasted the nuts over the crackling flames. I remember the man in his top hat gently placing the warm chestnut in my hands showing me how to roll it, to get to the middle. It didn't taste like I thought it would. I was glad to have tried it, though.

Yesterday, driving through the Napa Valley, so many trees charred and burned from last year's fire. So many houses and buildings gone. The past folds into the future. The green grasses sprouting new life were so rich in color, it was surreal with the dark mountains surrounding the valley, the magnificent white clouds bursting through the vast blue sky, the vineyards stirring with wild mustard the color of lemons. 

You can't help yourself for want of a glass of wine. Locals and visitors braved the bite of cold to eat and drink at the outdoor dining areas up and down the valley road.

I left the valley flooded with thoughts and emotions of good times past and hope for good memories in the future. 



 



















 

The Special Ones

Middletown
Northern California
The other day, on our search for snow

I received a message this morning from my friend Maria Wulf that the little lamb she loved and adored who was named after my Scott passed away this morning. He was the sweetest of lambs, loved people and was a little escape artist traveling out of his paddock, getting behind Maria, and slipping out of the gate when she fed the animals which I found so funny and reminded me of my Scott. Little Scotty had a short, but wonderful life with Jon Katz and Maria Wulf.

Infinite love and life is timeless. To us, it seems like the sweetest and most wonderful of people and animals leave us too soon.

I am learning and I have learned through this life that we are here to love, guide and take care of each other. When our work is done, we go, to continue to love and guide where we are needed. It hurts, our heart hurts when this happens and if we allow our heart to expand during this hurt, we allow ourselves to love deeper and deeper.

We are all connected in a timeless, multi dimensional universe. If we open our hearts and minds, we can feel and know this. We have to get beyond our ego and limited human brain to embody it. That is a challenge especially on such an ego driven planet. 

This planet would be so much more fun and beautiful which it can be if we practiced this connection of infinite love and timelessness.

I am so thankful and filled with gratitude for Jon and Maria to name their little Scotty after my Scott. For his short time here, he was love and is love.

You can follow Maria Wulf at Full Moon Fiber Art and Jon Katz at www.bedlamfarm.com



 

Friday, January 29, 2021

Winter Horses

This Afternoon on Back Roads
near the Hot Springs in Napa Valley
Northern California


I miss having horses. It's just not the right time to bring them back into my life. Someday, someday, maybe I will have horses again.

Insightful

How to Do Nothing: Resisting the Attention Economy
by Jenny Odell

This book giveaway is closed. Book has been claimed. Thank you!

I've mentioned the book "How to Do Nothing: Resisting the Attention Economy" by Jenny Odell more than a couple of times on the blog along with her interview & conversation on a video I posted "Birding to Beat the Winter Blues" on this week's posts.

This book made me think about a lot of things. Mainly, where do I put my attention and how does that affect my life, the life around me, and the environment I live in.

This book is my next giveaway. The  blog reader who emails me receives the book and a card from me. 

This book as of February 5, 2021 is still available. Go For It:)

Good Luck:)



 

Sound Bathing for Healing and Journeying


This is the taped video of the sound bathing meditation I participated in last night during the Full Wolf Moon in Leo. If you are receiving this post by email, you may need to go direct to the blog website to access the video I have posted here.

I was going to write a detailed description of sound bathing. When I went back to listen to the tape to take down some notes, I found that the video of last nights meditation was uploaded on YouTube.

This is wonderful!  Instead of writing about what a sound bath is, you can try it for yourself. I didn't watch the video during my meditation, I listened to the taping of it with my headphones. So, I encourage those of you interested in trying a sound bath meditation, to hook in your headset or earplugs and listen, you don't have to watch it, that way you can have the full experience and go deep into your meditation.

Last nights meditation was very healing for me. Some people experience healing, others journey or get visions, it's relaxing, and well worth the time to experience.

For me, I didn't realize how much sadness was weighing down my heart area impacting my breathing. I was able to release a lot of grief and sadness from Scott's death and transition. This helped me breathe better this morning, I feel much lighter in my chest area, and I am able to feel my love and connection with Scott deeper.

I would love to hear your experience if you choose to do the sound bath. Please email, mail me, or feel free to comment below.

I really enjoyed the sound bath meditation and will be doing more!

 

Pomegranate Tree in Winter

Pomegranate Tree with old Fruit

Before my sister picked me up yesterday afternoon for an hour's drive up the mountains to see the snow, my intention was to stay home and explore the backyard and the suburban neighborhood. Watching the webinar "Birding to Beat the Winter Blues" that I posted on a previous blog post inspired me to pay closer attention to what is around me. To get to know the birds in a deeper way, their personalities and habits (not just their identification) and the plants and trees, watching everyone, all life and individuals. as they change, grow, and go about their day.

In the morning, I was attracted to the pomegranate tree. I liked the way the rain drops formed beads that shimmered like tiny jewels. I took a few photos noting the rotting fruit.


In the afternoon, before we went on our drive, I looked out the window and noticed what I believe is a mockingbird on the branch next to one of the beat up, bruised and broken pomegranates barely hanging. If you look closely, I think you can see her near the lowest ball of fruit.


As I kept watching, I was surprised and delighted to see her stick her head into the pomegranate fruit to eat the ruby colored seeds inside. Here I thought, it was wasted fruit!  

I have always enjoyed bird watching. Now, I find myself going deeper by paying attention to the full lives the animals live in our backyards and neighborhoods. A revelation from reading Jenny Odell's book "How to Do Nothing: Resisting the Attention Economy" and the webinar is the reality and a reminder that the animals in our yards and neighborhoods are part of our community, as much as we are paying attention to them, they are paying attention to us.






 

Thursday, January 28, 2021

Cobb Mountain

Cobb Mountain
Rain Mist 
On the way to the Snow

This afternoon, my sister picked me up to go for a ride up to the mountains. It snowed last night. The mountains are an hour's drive from my home in Sonoma.

When it snows close to here, it's magical. We get a taste of snow, just enough for us to feel winter.

As we drove further and further up the mountain, we found the snow that fell last night. It felt like we were in a different world even though we were so close to home.


At Cobb Mountain, the cloud formations, blue skies and light were beautiful. At home the clouds were grey, pouring rain. In just an hour's drive, we changed our perspective and felt like kids again. Something about the snow brings that out in us since we were raised in San Francisco, and only saw the snow once a year at Lake Tahoe.
 


Farm in burn area. You can still see how charred the trunks and branches are from all of the fires. Several of the residents are living in trailers and RVs waiting for their homes to be rebuilt. 










International Blog

Tomales Bay
San Francisco Bay Area

 Welcome International Visitors:

This morning, I looked at the stats for the blog, and was thrilled to see more and more International Visitors from so many different countries. I found a translator on the Google Tools page that I added to the top right hand side of the blog to hopefully make things easier for all of us. I had fun earlier playing with the translator with the blog, so many beautiful languages, it was fun to see the blog in Arabic, Spanish, French, Chinese........

Here's a partial list of the countries visiting this morning:  Canada, Hong Kong, Ukraine, Germany, Spain, China, Sweden, Singapore...

Thank you for being here:)


Full Moon Tonight

 Just a little note to let you know I had a delayed post that you might miss if you don't scroll down a couple of posts. It is on the Wolf Moon tonight. Happy Howling:)

Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Searching for Vison

Monterey Pines
Tomales Bay
San Francisco Bay Area


I am searching for the vision of what my life is going to be without Scott physically here. For the last three years, I've had a partner by my side almost twenty-four/seven. For most of my life, I was single. So, I do know how to live and thrive in the single life. 

Before Scott, I had horses, goats and dogs to keep me busy, along with my blog, and my pet sit business.

My pet sit business closed after the 2017 Sonoma/Napa Tubbs Fire destroyed most of my client farms and ranches. When I was with Scott before our travels my senior horses, goats and senior dogs passed away/transitioned.

Being an animal person, it's strange not having pets to take care of anymore. And for the foreseeable future, I have no plans bringing companion animals back into my life. I love being in nature and I am learning to connect with the wild animals, trees, and plants on my hikes and in the area where I live. At this time, I don't want the responsibility of caring for a companion animal and I am okay with that.

I do have a hunger to create beyond what I am doing right now. I love writing, taking photos, and my blog. I promised Scott I would keep writing and keep the blog going when I started up again after we took a break from our travels.  I'm not breaking that promise! And I don't want to.

There is something stirring deep inside me. When I've asked during my visioning, I've received a clear message to wait, it's not time yet to go to the next step.

It's not comfortable for me to have so much time to spare. I know that sounds whiny and self-indulgent when so many of us wish for time to spare. I am sorry for that. Losing a partner, half of me, has created a space, a big space to fill. I want to fill that space, something that will be of service, something creative, a new vision.

I thought the new space would be filled with travel. After searching, yet again, for volunteer opportunities where I can live, work and be of service. I find nothing that suits my strengths, feeds my spirit, or touches my heart, I am at a standstill with travel, probably until the summer or maybe even into 2022. 

In the meantime, I will continue to spend time in nature, take photos, blog, meditate and vision, and keep serving here by sharing as much as I feel comfortable with and what comes through me into my writing.

Early this morning, I woke up feeling numb without feeling. I couldn't feel my heart. I reached out to Scott and felt a warmth, a presence. As I started to breathe, I felt my heart open and the tears came, flowing freely. My heart kept opening, expanding. All day, today, has been quite the struggle, the pull wanting Scott physically here, knowing that is not possible. Yet, Scott is here, his presence.  

There is a learning, a process, an opening and expanding of accepting a new way of being, a new life for myself, and staying open to how my relationship with Scott is transforming and expanding. As I study women like Christina Rasmussen, Sark, Esther Hicks, and even Charmian London, Jack London's wife, all who continued to have communications with their partners after death, I do not feel as uneasy sharing on my blog some of my experience (most of it will remain private as it should be). I do feel comfortable sharing the tools, books, podcasts, and teachers who have the courage to share, serve and help those who want to expand their connection with lost loved ones and want to expand their own spiritual lives.

So there it is, I put it all out there, as much as I can for now as I continue on this mysterious journey unfolding moment by moment. I hope you stay with me for the ride, and if you don't, peace and love be with you on your journey.

 

Wolf Moon


 

In honor of tonight's Full Moon. The Wolf Moon in Leo. I found this video of California's Wolf Pack. Two adults and three pups that were born in 2019.

The last piece of information I could gather shows there are now eight new pups. Grey Wolves are Native to California and are coming back after being killed off and eradicated by livestock interests in the 1920s. 

Wolves are protected under California's Endangered Species Act. There is no hunting of wolves in California. Wolves were removed from Federal protection, hopefully, that will change, and they will be added back on under the Federal Endangered Species Act with the new administration. Phone calls and letters help.

Tonight, I am keeping my window open to the night sky to hear the neighborhood howl under the full moon. I will also be attending my first sound bath, specifically for the Wolf Moon. Sound baths are meditations bathed in sound waves produced by healing instruments. I will write about my experience. I have a downloaded tape of the sound bath for tonight. When Scott was here, before COVID, there were sound baths at a few of the meditation centers in our area. Scott always wanted to go, but we didn't get a chance to do it. I'm really looking forward to hopefully having a healing experience tonight. 

If you watch the wolf video through the whole two minutes or less, you will get a howling lesson for tonight's full moon!

Enjoy:)

Birding to Beat the Blues


 

This morning, I am watching "Birding to Beat the Winter Blues", a conversation with Author Jenny Odell, New York Times Best Selling Author. In this video Jenny is being interviewed by the Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation. The Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation which I am a member of protects and educates about the freshwater wetlands in the Sonoma County Area.

I was surprised and excited to see that Jenny Odell was a guest speaker and the Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation was taping a Zoom conversation with her, which was recorded and shared on Youtube. I am reading her book How To Do Nothing: Resisting the Attention Economy, it's on my reading list which you can find on the right hand side of this blog. It is a book that I am getting a lot out of and when I am finished with it, I will be giving it away on the blog.

Jenny mentions her curiosity about birds through out her book which is about the power of attention and the hook of app devices on our phones, social media, marketing, etc.

I know there are a lot of bird enthusiasts who read this blog, so I thought this would be a fun video to share about "Birding to Beat the Winter Blues" with the Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation and Author Jenny Odell. 

Enjoy:)  

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

We are all Together


Grey Squirrel

The wind is howling, the rain is coming down. It's pitch black, cold, outside. I am getting a warm feeling, smiling inside knowing how comfortable our neighborhood squirrel is in his nest made of planting material and shredded palm tree bark. Watching him this afternoon gather materials (plunder:) to build a warm, safe, secure nest for himself and maybe a partner, was something I will always remember. We are all on this Earth together trying to make it work, trying to have a good life, even this little squirrel (his life is precious to him). I am grateful, I have slowed down my life over the years, and learned how to appreciate the miracle of life, by living with the animals. Scott and I spent hours and hours everyday watching wildlife, and now here I am, continuing to share our love of nature. This is one of the big reasons I love this planet.


 

The Plundering Squirrel

 

The Plunderer

It looks like someone is trying to scavenge as much nesting material as they can before the big storm arrives. The temperature has dropped and the storm clouds have covered the skies.



It's pretty amazing how much action you can find in a suburban yard in a busy part of town. There are animals all around us. For some reason, I thought squirrels only build nests when they have baby squirrels to keep warm. Nope. They build them before storms.



This little monster came back at least a half dozen times to plunder and steal plant material for their nest. After I took the photos (sorry for the blur, still getting used to the zoom) I picked up and leafed through "The Inner Life of Animals" by Peter Wohlleben and found out that grey squirrels not only steal from backyard suburbs, they steal from their friends and relatives as well.


And that cute little face deceives us. Their delicacy is baby birds which they grab out of the nests with their claws. They do eat the eggs and dead birds as well, so hopefully they do that more often then swiping innocent wild song bird chicks. I was thinking of keeping that juicy bit of horror from the blog, but that wouldn't be authentic of me. Squirrels have to eat too. 

I thought they were vegetarians.

I have no idea what the crow is digging for. The same squirrel is on the side of the palm tree as I'm writing this shredding off strips of bark to complete his nest building before the storm. Crows eat baby birds too. I bet they feel no guilt.  

This is better than television.

The plunderers are out in force.




 

 


Rain is on its Way

Tomales Bay
North of San Francisco

A big storm is arriving today, followed by days of rain, and warnings of flash flooding. My go to for helping myself feel better and positive; traveling the back roads and hiking are on hold for now. 

I do love listening and watching the rain with my window open. I will be reading a lot, listening to podcasts, and meditating; I have learned a new way to meditate which is explained in a new book I will be giving away soon; it's a way to take a quantum leap into a field of energy of multiple dimensions manifesting surprising reality in our world.  That's about the best way I can explain it for now. It is making profound changes in my life. If you are interested in exploring more, especially if you have a lost loved one, I recommend Christina Rasmussen's podcast the Dear Life Podcast. Her recent podcast "Grieving Deeply While Living Wildly"is an interview with creative Author and Artist Sark who many of you may be familiar with.

I miss Scott everyday through-out the day and night, his physical presence. Our love and connection is here alive, and well. By using the tools of meditating, spending time in nature, keeping my heart open and my ego in check, I have found a way to continue my journey here with purpose and love.

Eating a vegetarian diet, turning television and news off, not participating in social media, or surfing on the internet has helped my mind clear itself of constant negative chatter.

I continue my search and journey while living from today and I hope to continue to share my experiences, feelings, and resources with you.











 

Monday, January 25, 2021

Night's Breath

Sunset
Sonoma Valley, Northern California




Nights Breath 
Poem by Janet Hamilton


I wrap myself in the mist of night
the moon my pillow
waiting for you 
to light the stars one by one

The owl's wings whisper
 coyote sings a sullen song
my heart beats to the rhythm
of a dream once asleep

At night 
the Earth kisses the Sky
the sea drinks the tears
while the sun waits to be
reborn



 

Dust of Snow

Santa Rosa
Vineyards
Northern California

This morning, I headed out to my mail center to ship off cards and packages. On the way, I picked a road I've never driven down. What a surprise!  Old farmhouses and green rolling vineyards, classic farm trucks, and fallen leaves waved good morning on this clear day before the storms are hitting tomorrow and for several days this week.

At the turn, underneath the bright blue sky, a dust of snow decorated the mountain next to St. Helena. Yesterday, when I talked to my sister, she said up north, it will be snowed in for days starting tomorrow. Here in Sonoma County, it will be cold and rainy, and hopefully we will continue to see snow on the mountains surrounding us. I love seeing the snow.

At the mail center, a long line formed behind me as the owner wrapped my packages beautifully not paying attention to one woman who was grunting and loudly sighing clearly impatient with the process as she shifted the weight of a large box back and forth on her hip. I thanked the nice woman behind me for being patient not able to reach the impatient one with the box on her hip towards the back with a smile to let her know I appreciated her too. At the register, the owner repeated over and over what "a good soul" Scott was. I smiled and said  "yes and he still is".  She smiled back neatly labeling the rest of my padded envelopes.

I am so happy to be able to mail my packages and pick up my mail at Scott's charming mail center in this small forest town. As my life has slowed down, and I am living more and more everyday from today, I am careful to choose who I do business with. I want all of my errands and work to have meaning and give meaning to those around me. 

I want to surround myself with good people. Scott chose good people to do business with. 







 

Sunday, January 24, 2021

Spiral Dance of Life

Spiral of Life
Tomales Bay
Northern California

Yesterday afternoon, I was drawn to this tree at Tomales. I loved the circles, the spiral shape of it. Someone said it was dying. To me, it felt full of life.

It reminded of the Spiral Dance, I was a part of, many years ago. Almost twenty five-years ago. It was held by a group of Dianic Witches in Bodega Bay in an old farmhouse with a big living room area cleared of furniture and clutter.  It was Halloween night. The Spiral Dance is a dance, a rebirth, a creative force powered by a group of women dancing in a circle, chanting, singing and drumming to raise a spiral of energy tunneling from the ground up into the sky.

That night, in the old ghost white farmhouse, our bare feet planted on the wood worn floor, so long ago, we lifted our skirts, pulled up our leggings, held hands and danced in a circle to the beat of drums, the howls of women and ancient songs. We danced and danced, faster and faster, reaching a frenzy, spinning the circle, around and around, until I felt like my feet were lifted up off the ground, my body held by the women around me. I could feel our energy rise up above us, through the roof, into the dark night sky, through the bright twinkling of stars and behind the almost full pearl white moon connecting the spiral of life, death, and rebirth into our celebration dance of immortality.





 

Healing through Creativity



Three Kayaks
Tomales Bay
Northern California

"Helped are those who create anything at all, for they shall relive the thrill of their own conception
and realize a partnership in the creation of the Universe that keeps them responsible and cheerful."

-Alice Walker


This morning I wrote a letter to my friend and mentor Jon Katz of the inspiring, thought-provoking and beautiful blog Bedlam Farm.  

I wrote to Jon to thank him for supporting my writing over the years. I don't think I would have made it through Scott's physical death if it wasn't for the blog. My writing forces me to find inspiration and beauty, color and light, a reason to continue on this journey. 

I believe our creativity, we are all creators, is the path, the way to healing. We don't have to be masters of our craft, just practitioners. For many years, my creativity was a garden I grew when my brother David was living with a terminal cancer diagnosis. I didn't have much money, just a few dollars to spare. With that money, I bought seeds and planted them in the middle of a chain link dog run on a bare piece of dry brown grass. I dug the dirt, turned it, watered the seeds everyday until they grew into an edible feast of sweet peas, tomatoes, eggplant, squash, carrots, and lettuces, thriving and creating a jungle of green and spring blooms that twisted and grasped the metal cage of the dog kennel until you couldn't see the chain link any more unless you pulled apart the tangle of plant life. A couple of months before David passed away, he visited my garden. He could barely walk, his right arm was useless (paralyzed from the tumor in his brain). He somehow got out of the car on his own from the passenger side and shuffled himself over to the vegetable and flower garden and listened while I described each veggie plant and pinched bits of herbs for him to smell that I placed under his nose. That garden that cost, maybe $20. It saved me. My garden took my feelings of loss and sorrow and turned them into beauty and food. When David was gone, I harvested the vegetables and herbs and made beautiful baskets and gave them away to family and friends, and our neighbors nearby.

A gift of a camera and donations from the readers of this blog, support from my creative inspiring friends Jon Katz and Maria Wulf and Maria's blog at Full Moon Fiber Art have helped me keep creating. Their Art, Writing, and Blogs inspire me everyday.

Every day I receive letters from people who have lost loved ones and find courage and inspiration from my blog. This is the best compliment I could ever receive. If I can help people through their loss and their tough times, I have done my work here, my purpose and will continue to do so. I always felt my ultimate purpose for this blog was to help people not feel alone. 

Adding the book giveaways has helped me feel good. The donations I receive help contribute to the postage and the books I buy to help me on this healing journey, to encourage me to keep looking for the surprise and mystery in this amazing life, and help me to give something back to people, the joy of reading, and sharing.  

Thank you for reading and supporting the blog. And thank you for bringing your own creative spark to the world whether that's baking a dozen muffins, growing a garden, writing a letter to someone, creating a blog, or painting a landscape. You give us the inspiration to keep on living and loving.


Saturday, January 23, 2021

Perfect Winter Day Weather


Picnic Area at Tomales Bay
Point Reyes National Seashore
Northern California

Today, the picnic area at Tomales Bay north of San Francisco was quiet, no locals or tourists, just two sets of couples hiked through. When I was a kid growing up in Daly City, a suburb on the borderline of San Francisco, our family had barbecues here in the winter. It was usually foggy, mist drenched our clothes, and our fingers turned pink from the cold. Why go to the bay in the winter?  Winter was clam digging season. My dad and uncles would dig huge holes in the ink dark sand. My sisters, cousins and I jumped into the dug outs, picking the clams off the sides of the holes before the sand rained down on top of us. When dark started to fall, we hauled our buckets full of clams to the ranger where he checked their measurements with a metal circle to make sure they were big enough.

Up at the picnic area (photo above) looking out over Tomales Bay, my parents would fire up the coals, butter the sourdough for toast while the clams cleaned themselves of sand in the saltwater before being steamed for dinner. We would shiver in our puffy jackets, starving, waiting for paper plates to be handed out for servings of steamed clams and garlic bread.

The weather for wintertime couldn't be more perfect today. There was no breeze, hardly a cloud in the sky. I ate my picnic lunch, an eggplant sandwich grilled on a ciabatta roll with a small salad of beet greens, candied cranberries and balsamic vinegar.  I was surprised that I didn't get overcome by sadness. I thought of Scott and talked to him remembering the sandy cove where we set out our chairs near the water, the days we spent at the bay reminding me of Hawaii, and the meals we shared at the picnic tables on the beach. I never know when the waves of grief will hit me. When the tears run down my face and the pain digs a hole in my heart. Today, a peace embraced me. A knowing that we live in a timeless world, that I am forever connected to Scott and our love for each other, our love for nature, for simple moments. I let the memories of my childhood and Scott wash over me and I let myself feel the peace.


Bird Nest at Tomales Bay

Tomales Bay
Marin County, Northern California

Can you see the nest I spotted while visiting the park this morning?  I can't believe it's still there after the gusts of 50-70 mph winds that hit our Northbay area a few days ago.I don't know what kind of nest it is. It's large, almost as big as a small car tire.

The nest is cradled up in the trees above the parking lot where Scott and I parked last summer. I remember Scott sitting in the driver's seat reading his book. I crawled in the back of the van and took a nap. I felt so safe and sleepy. I opened the window so I could feel the breeze from the bay lightly brush my face as I fell asleep. We spent many wonderful days exploring the Point Reyes National Seashore over the last three years and for weeks over this last summer. 

 

Pushing Away from the Message

Turkey Vultures
Crane Canyon 
Northern California

When I was hiking in Crane Canyon the other day, and the red-shouldered hawk flew towards me and  right over my head, I wanted so badly to see her again and not miss the opportunity of taking a close-up photo.  

 I never did see her again. I did spend a fair amount of time at the park looking and waiting for her.

As I walked on the winding path that reminded me of the Wizard of Oz, thunderbolts of sunshine ignited the oaks, their trunks and branches casting the light over the green grass reaching up from the recent rains.  The turkey vultures spread their wings across the sky circling overhead. 

I ignored the vultures, knowing in my heart, they are one of Scott's favorites if not his favorite bird and one of my own as well. I kept thinking "no one cares about vultures, no one sees their beauty like we do, I need the photo of the hawk for my blog, now that is something special and amazing, that people will appreciate and like".  

Along the trail, the vultures followed me from up above, stretching their blood red heads looking down at me. I looked up smiling "come on you guys, I know you are beautiful, and Scott is sending you to me, but I really want the hawk".  

As I turned the bend in the trail, the vultures landed on the oak trees, picture perfect, posing for me like characters out of a scary Victorian Ghost Novel. I found a bench and sat down, trying to let go of my need to see a hawk. My mind filled with images of mountain lions, their blond fur glistening in the morning light, I thought to myself, "oh how perfect, that would be for the blog, I would be a true wild animal whisperer with that photo."  Behind me, the vultures rustled in the trees. I turned around to look at them, they looked back ready for their photo. I shook my head at them, and they flew off.

After awhile, giving up on any fascinating animals making an appearance, I got up from my bench, and continued on the trail, looking in every bush and in every tree for an exciting animal to take a photo of. I looked up into the white clouds, into a patch of blue sky. There they were. The three vultures circling above me. Within minutes, all three landed in another oak tree like actors on the set of the Headless Horseman ready for their cue. I thought to myself, "no...I write about grief, death, and the afterlife, people will think I am even stranger taking photos of you guys." 

Finally, I surrendered.

I stopped pushing away the messenger. I spent several minutes taking their photos and thanked the trinity of vultures for their persistence. I thanked Scott for sending the hawk and our favorite mystical not appreciated vultures to me. I thanked my Angels and Guides for not giving up on me when I push away the messages because it is not the message I Want or am Looking for.

I remember after Scott transitioned, people saying to me that they don't like to see anything reminding them of their lost loved one, it's too painful, they push away memories, they push away wounds that need healing and forgiveness, they ignore the orange & black butterfly floating around them while they are lost in their sorrow, they hide under the covers away from the light trying to touch them to help ease their pain, they shut out the world and their eyes to the messenger and messages trying to reach them wishing for the past instead of embracing what is here, now. 

I know that pain, the carving out from grief.  I also know the love that is waiting beyond it.

I am thankful my vultures didn't give up on me. Now, when I look at my photos of my vultures,  I smile and laugh. I remember all of our walks, drives, and hikes when Scott pointed out the big black birds with their washed out looking ruby colored heads saying to me "look our friends are here". 

I am learning everyday to not push away the messages or the messenger that brings me mystery, light, and an infinite love that never stops giving as long as I am open to receiving it.


The Trinity
My friends, the Turkey Vultures


Friday, January 22, 2021

Rainy Day in the Vineyards

Healdsburg
Vineyard and Redwood Trees
Northern California

Today was a rainy day on the back roads to run errands. I only stopped at the bank and to take photos of the mist, vineyards and redwoods. This road is a road I have traveled on for years. It's beautiful any day of the year. 

Three years ago, my mom gave Scott and me tickets for the March Barrel Tasting Tour that covered Sonoma County and this area in Healdsburg towards Guerneville.  It was so much fun. Scott mapped out the tour picking the best spots to taste wine. Our main priority was what food and music they were offering with their wine, the type of food and band not the wine determined which places we stopped at. We couldn't possibly stop at every single winery on the list. It was a two day wine pass. I was the designated driver for the first day sipping on sodas or bottled water, Scott was the designated driver on the second day.  I don't remember a favorite food on this tour. I do remember our favorite wine after two days and over two dozen stops. It turned out, it wasn't the food, it was the port that won us over. Sunce Winery  has a port that tastes like creme brulee. We bought a few bottles for ourselves and to share. This last summer, we stopped by and picked up a bottle of the port for our camping trip to Olema. It's not outrageously expensive, very reasonable. After three years, they still had a few bottles left. We had a couple of other favorite stops which I will share on another post.

Healdsburg, California

Right now the wineries are only open for pick up. We can't visit, picnic or taste because of COVID restrictions. Sometimes, I like having picnics at the wineries, because they own some of the most beautiful land and views in the area. Plus, they usually have art and music to share during the week and on the weekends. 

Rain mist falling on the Redwoods

When it's raining, stormy and I feel locked in. Or if I feel down or depressed, being in the Redwoods is an instant cure. I just roll down the windows, breathe them in and stay as long as I can, bathing in their presence. 




“No one has ever successfully painted or photographed a redwood tree. The feeling they produce is not transferable. From them comes silence and awe. It’s not only their unbelievable stature, nor the color which seems to shift and vary under your eyes, no, they are not like any trees we know, they are ambassadors from another time.” 

— John Steinbeck







 

Thursday, January 21, 2021

Prayer for Plants







Crane Canyon 


During my hike this morning, I walked by a mom and her two small children. The mom was taking some leaves, I think they were bay leaves from the tree and placing them in a paper bag. A stern, strong mental thought, a judgement came into my mind "she is not supposed to take plants from the park". 

Another thought came softly behind it saying "be gentle with people".  

I shook off the original thinking and judgement as not being mine, just something that we program somehow to automatically assess a situation and judge it without seeing the whole picture. 

A few feet from the mom and her kids, I stopped under an oak tree to watch the woodpeckers fly back and forth hoping to get a good photo. I heard the mother say "It's time to pray, let's form a circle, do you remember the prayer, the words we say to thank the plant for giving us the medicine we need." 

As I started taking photos of the birds in the trees, I could hear the family whispering a prayer in a language I couldn't place. After their prayers, I watched as the family started back on the trail heading towards the parking lot. 

I wish a judging thought never entered my mind. I know that is not possible as I am human. I do know, I can let those kind of thoughts go and not act on them. And that for now is going to have to be good enough. 


 

Bird Watching in Crane Canyon

Turkey Vultures

This morning, I took a long hike through Crane Canyon, a park in Sonoma County. Scott and I always admired the vultures, we loved seeing them in flight and especially when they sunbathe with wings spread out towards the sun like totems. The three friends in the oak tree kept me entertained for almost an hour as they flew in beautiful formation in the sky above me.

This park has some of the most beautiful oaks in the county. Near this oak, a red shouldered hawk headed straight towards me, gliding right over my head. I was trying to get a photo, but she was too close. I could see her beautiful red neck and dark eyes as she went passed me in full flight through the grass lands.


There were a lot of people in the park today. Next time, I plan on going earlier so I can see more wildlife and birds that hide during the day when it's busy and noisy. At the end of my hike, I met a woman, a writer, published author. She stopped me on the trail to talk about the birds I was taking photos of. With our masks on, she shared with me her love of the park and the hawks. I recognized the name of her book as she was just interviewed in our local paper. Her book is called the Last Nomad: Coming of Age in Somali. I shared my blog with her. We are going to get together for tea or coffee, I hope sometime soon, with social distancing, of course. Her nickname is Sugar.  I felt so comfortable talking to her. At home, I ordered her book through bookshop.org and found more information about when she was a young girl growing up in West Africa before she immigrated to the US :

“I am the last nomad. My ancestors traveled the East African desert in search of grazing land for their livestock, and the most precious resource of all—water. When they exhausted the land and the clouds disappeared from the horizon, their accumulated ancestral knowledge told them where to move next to find greener pastures. They loaded their huts and belongings onto their most obedient camels and herded their livestock to a new home.”

I am so excited to have met Shugri Said Salh and look forward to sharing more of her story and writing with you. Before I left for my hike today at Crane Canyon, I had guidance to visit this park during my meditation. 

American Goldfinches

Before I met Shugri Said Salh on the trail, I was able to use the zoom on my new camera (thank you Amy:) and was happy to find the photo turned out pretty good from so far away. I love the yellow on the goldfinches' breasts, the color reminds me of ripe bananas!











 

Sugar


This book giveaway is closed. It has been claimed. There will be more giveaways:)

"Your Life After Their Death is truly an inspirational book that offers comfort and peace to those who were left behind by their loved ones. This book also offers practical exercises that will assist you in your journey back to a life filled with hope."

-Anita Moorjani, New York Times bestselling author of Dying to Be Me


I can't remember if someone recommended this book to me or not. I do want to thank readers of this blog who have emailed suggestions of books they have read or heard about on life after death, communicating with lost loved ones, and quantum physics. I have been studying and practicing different forms of spirituality and communication since I was very young.  Losing Scott has opened up a whole other world to me and I find my studies and practices deepening every day.

This book "Your Life After Their Death"  is actually pretty down to earth with practices that have been helpful to me in the past and new ways of looking at things that have opened up my own spiritual practice.

One of the last chapters "Connect with Your Pets and Other Animals", I believe is helpful for those who are grieving the loss of a companion animal. When I finished the chapter, I was reminded of a cocker spaniel mix that I adopted from the local Humane Society. I was only twenty-four years of age at the time, living with my boyfriend Hans in an apartment. We both fell in love with Sugar. She was pure love with a gentle heart. She only lived a year. One day, she stopped eating and drinking water, I took her to the emergency vet. I remember, waiting up all night for the vet to call me with reports of how she was doing, while tossing and turning sleepless on the couch. I still remember clearly watching the protests at Tiananmen Square happening live on CNN while I cried, knowing in my heart, she was not going to make it.

Sugar had an auto-immune deficiency which could not be treated effectively in 1989. Now, treatments have vastly improved, but not in time for Sugar. I was broken-hearted, grieving, feeling guilty that I had done something wrong, that I couldn't save her. 

A few months later after losing Sugar, I was walking back from the store in front of our apartment complex. I looked up to see two ladies walking a cocker spaniel puppy. The puppy started squirming and crying, and somehow wriggled free from her collar. She ran across the busy street, thankfully no traffic was there at the time. When I saw her running towards me, I instinctively crouched down to catch her. She jumped in my arms, licking me while wagging her tail furiously. The frightened ladies who probably thought their puppy was never coming back ran over, thanking me profusely. I smiled handing the puppy back to them. I remember thinking right away that the puppy was Sugar or a message from her. I felt so much love from that puppy, it lifted my spirits and I was able to move on within a few weeks to adopt another dog at the same Humane Society, Sophia, my pain in the butt dachshund who was nothing like Sugar!  

I recommend this book "Your Life after Their Death" by Karen Noe as a solid book on learning techniques to open your senses to communication and healing after loss. And I am giving my copy away to the first reader of this blog who emails me - unfortunately I can only ship to USA residents at this time. Good luck!