I’m Back, And I Remember

NOTE: This reflection was written by a Weaving Earth participant after returning from a trip into some beautiful California wild lands.

Shaking the dust and dirt and leaves out of my blanket and clothes today sent a wave of emotion through my body. I felt a sting of pain as I loaded the clothes into the wash. Feels a little like it’s washing the experience away. The tears came. The magic and medicine and learning of that time out there is feeling potent, it’s working on me, moving in me. Almost more so than while out there. The drive home, fast on the highways, crowded in the cities, hard on a tired body.

The opening of the door to a house where large amounts of alcohol is consumed by family members, numbing pain, stress, and connection—I remember sitting for many hours tending a small fire that grew large and hot, lovingly spun to life from the beings of the land, listening to stories spoken and heard.

I’m back where water comes from faucets—but I remember carrying a clay pot and gourds full of wild water from gently flowing streams.

I’m back where all that’s needed to heat water is to turn a nob and wait a few moments—but I remember the slowness of building up a coal nest for the beautifully initiated clay pot. The snapping of the small burnt and weathered manzanita branches. The slowness of the approaching boil. And the beautiful way the waters rolled in that lovingly hand-crafted pot.

I’m back where I quickly move from task to task, so there’s enough time for a walk outside before work—but I remember the slowness in my legs as I moved across the land. How I lay down many times, whenever a seat in a rock looked inviting, or the micro scene of little red plants growing in the sand pockets on those rocks was too incredible to resist sitting down and taking in. How the flowering elderberry drew me towards her. How the land communicated with my body. And how I was led by it.

I’m back where there’s access to Internet to look up how to build solar showers while eating breakfast—but I remember the fire, water gathering, wild harvesting, slow passage of time for the approach of the rolling boil, the stirring of the collective found and prepared ingredients (all with a slow story of their own), the cooling time, the offering to the fire, and joy in the few bites individually taken as the pot passed from hand to hand around the circle, a feeling of abundant nourishment, the bottomless pot.

I’m in the question of how to maintain and ripple out moving slowly with intention when living in a place.

Where there are walls, like alcohol, television, and to-do tasks that hinder connection.

Where water arrives and boils faster.

Where the thinking of the next to-do removes me from the presence of the one at hand.

Where precious dirt time feels limited.

Where multitasking pulls me away from consciously consuming that which nourishes me.

I’m holding on to the green of the oaks. The fields of flowers. The glow of the cave. The fire hot. The waters flowing. The land abundant. The air intoxicating. The circling up around “what’s needed?” The listening. The ease. The collective decisions. The personal choices. Impact. Peacemaking. The hot arrival. The cold plunge exit.

Gratitude to the place for receiving us. Nourishing our bodies and spirits. Serenading our ears. Spellbinding our eyes. Gifting our noses. Enlivening our skin.

Thank you and thank me for showing up with open hearts as we deepened into remembering our belonging. The ripples went deep within me. May they be spreading gently, far and wide, as well.