Hiking the Canyon
Sonoma County, California
Late this morning, A hike was scheduled with my new friend Shugri who I wrote about in a previous blog. Last night, I had a rough night. I have been struggling with some health issues and this morning, I didn't feel much better.
I didn't want to miss my first outing with Shugri. So, I do what I always try to do in life, I pulled myself together, took a hot bath with rose essential oils, got dressed, and loaded the batteries in my camera. I met Shugri at one of our local parks, a park with rolling green hills in the winter and spring that turn golden in the summer. Red Angus cattle graze the hillsides spreading out over a valley high above the developed area of suburban houses and apartments below along a busy country highway, vultures sweep the skies above while red tailed hawks take flight over prized hunting grounds sheltering wild rabbits, voles, ground squirrels and snakes.
I met Shugri in the parking lot, as we followed the trail, our words flowed easily catching each other up on our lives, my travels with Scott and his passing in November, Shugri's work as a nurse, her writings, her sisters, her grandmother and her life here in Sonoma County. I felt a sigh of relief, a knowing that Shugri was accepting who I am now. She wanted to hear my story. She wanted to hear about me, my new self, the one I am just getting to know after Scott's death. Walking across the stones, she laughed saying we could take the steps like goats. I totally understood. We share a love of goats. Her family herded camels, sheep and goats in East Africa. My Grandfather herded goats in the North of Spain before immigrating here. I kept a herd of three goats for years until they passed away from old age. I followed Shugri as we skillfully placed our feet on the stones carrying us across the water.
We stopped along the trail to rest on one of Shugri's favorite trees, one of the large branches splitting in two as it left the center of the tree creating two places for us to sit a few feet apart. Shugri asked me to share a photo of Scott with her. I got out my cellphone and showed her one of my favorites. She looked at the photo, "what a sweet soul, and the bird". She recognized the gull sitting near Scott. I told her the story of Scott befriending the gull who was an outcast, a beat up loner separated from his flock. Shugri with heartfelt expression spoke for the gull telling his story of being cast out. She acted out the gull's mournful abandonment. I couldn't help but laugh "yes, yes, the poor gull, that is how it was!". Shugri is a natural story teller, she can see a photo and her words become stories themselves.
As we became part of the tree, sitting, Shugri pointed to the birds and we watched two downy woodpeckers, their cherry red heads, and black and white striped bodies flit from oak tree to oak tree across the grasslands.
We continued our walk across the trail sharing stories back and forth until we climbed a ridge, where I hurriedly tried to catch my breath. Shugri paused, pointing out a bench overlooking the cattle pasture. "Let's go here, and soften our bones in the sun".
"Soften our bones in the sun". I soaked in her words, her expressions, her writing she shared with me as we sat on the bench watching two young men throw frisbees. Shugri clapping and encouraging them saying "Bravo, Bravo!" each time the disc landed near the goal. We watched the red tail hawks circle, the clouds form over the blue sky as we continued to share.
I didn't realize how much I missed spending time with a friend who writes, until now.
I turned to Shugri as she was following a vulture in the sky "you are going to make me a better writer."
I felt an osmosis, I felt myself pick up ideas and thoughts of how my writing can deepen, how I can add layers to my writing from our sharing.
Shugri feels somehow souls connect, to share, to expand their lives. I believe this as well. Shugri has a new book published, that can be pre-ordered, it will be released in August about her life in East Africa and her immigration to the states. It's named The Last Nomad: Coming of Age in the Somali Desert.
I am hopeful we will be going on more hikes soon. Shugri wants me to try her favorite drink at her favorite coffeehouse. It's called an upside down London Fog. I am intrigued. I can't wait to try it.
I feel blessed to meet Shugri. Nature has a way of connecting people.