Thoughts on life, love, and the pursuit of balance.
Friday, January 16, 2009
Meaning, moods, the whole scale of our inner experience, finds in nature "the correspondences" through which we may know our boundless selves. -Kathleen Raine
Thinking about my growing years and what they have meant to me, I have found that I keep coming back to the same genesis, the same background that has influenced my life the most: nature.
Growing up by a creek and close to the ocean has profoundly colored the way in which I perceive the world. Our home was (and is) filled with windows, often open, overlooking the creek below. I was born in that home overlooking the creek, at sunrise. It was my first view, my first baptism, and the heart of my life for many years.
My activities were predicated on the rise and fall of its water, each season bringing its own wonders. We used to swim in the creek; sometimes innertubing down when it was high enough, later in the season, having to crush through thick, green stalks of watercress scenting the ride and our skin.
We would spend hours immersed in its glories, smells, and mysteries. We would sculpt figures from its clay banks. I can still remember exactly its smell and feel. That good, squishy kind of clay that escapes between your fingers. Wonderfully gooey.
We would lay on the beach and build homes and roads through the sands. I would always add an abalone shell pool. I loved the irredescent glint of its sheen, so much like that of water itself.
Later in the year, the santa ana winds would come. They always seemed to begin just before the darkness had begun to thin. Awakening to the change, I remember once dragging my sleeping bag outside onto the porch to feel the wonder of its warm charm. The smell of distant places whispering through its breeze. The excitement of knowing that it would be warm at the beach that day.
Everything seems different when those winds come. You feel different; freer. The creek takes on a different air during those winds, just as a woman changing out of day clothes and into something a little flashier, a little more daring. I relished the dusty wind throwing its pollen and pampas grass fluff.
The fall and winter would come bringing its more sober air. This was the hardest time of the year, the part when we couldn't play in the creek. But the smells were no less enchanting as we visited the flood stained waters checking for signs of clearing. The muddy scent of possibility. We spent hours upon hours with that creek. I knew it intimately, like an old friend.
And it was truly my first friend. It is a part of my soul; a part of me. It taught me that everything has a soul, perhaps most especially plants and animals and ecosystems. It also taught me that life is much grander than we can ever know, and that perhaps it is not for us to know. That there are mysteries embedded in mysteries and that paradox is the energy upon which we exist.
I was raised in a very free-thinking family of great proportions, living a semi-nomadic life between northern and central california, traveling, and often living, in a VW van. I received a BA in Religious Studies and Cultural Anthropology at UCSB, have worked for a wine magazine, and traveled as much as possible. I am now a thirty-three-year-old-mostly-content-stay-at-home-mom living in the Bay Area with my husband, two-year-old daughter, and very energetic Golden Retriever.