July 20, 2013

Everything Changes. ~ Renee Baribeau

Like a child waiting for Santa Claus, my enthusiasm grew as we neared our destination. “Are we here yet?” asked the restless child within.

Even though I was beyond tired from the grueling five-day drive, I still wanted to hike along the windswept bluff and relive a breathtaking memory I had experienced exactly one year ago to the day.

Prior to leaving, I sequestered myself in my air-conditioned home, organizing details, packing and preparing for my escape from the scorched desert. Still weary from the effort, my inner Ku was agitated, waiting to relive that moment among the luxurious palette of purple and yellow flowers that lined the cliff.

As my day unwrapped things started to look different. My “perfect” day began with a precarious wobble when a Facebook friend threw a tantrum because I ignored his, “You had better…” command. For two years, I held space for the healing of this broken young man because I saw his potential. Potential gave way to the exhaustion after a week of travel. My fuse was short. Exasperated by his nicotine stained projectiles I blocked all future communication.

I was determined to allow nothing to interfere with my imagined fantasy of last year’s snap shot. Driving up the highway and surrounded by a lush forest, I took a detour into a small village so I could refuel. The barista’s amusing comment, “You just arrived, eh?” did not curb the excitement that I sported on my sleeve. I took a deep breath and walked out to the pier, ready to reset my inner clock to “Island Time.”

Once my clock was reset, I hopped into my car and drove to the lookout. Behind me stood a quaint graveyard lined with 200 year-old craggy Douglas firs and weather worn grave markers.

To my left a patchwork of sienna and burnt umber fields rolled out as far as the eye could see. From a distance, ancient snow covered Cascade Peaks kept watch. On my way to the log cabin fort, I waved to the farmer working the beet field.

At last I arrived at the wooden post fence that stood between my projected fantasy and reality.

As I stepped beyond the boundary of the forte, I was met with an unwelcome sight; the field was plowed under. The flowers I‘d conjured up in my mind had been stripped from the field like unwelcomed guests.

In that moment my disappointment welled up like the frothy foam on my cappuccino. I gave myself permission to go back and rest. However, the easterly wind nudged me forward with a hint that there something special awaited me if I continued along the hay path.

Last week’s wedding, the recent verbal battering, and my memory of the bluff churned in my mind. I ask the wind to set me free from these negative swirls. I was inspired by a vision of the perfect island home.

As I walked I recited the Hawaiian Ho’oponopono, “I love you. Please forgive me for whatever I said or did that would create expectations for_____________________. I am sorry. Thank you.”

I thanked the creator for this glorious day, for the cornflower blue sky with purple, golden paintbrush accents, for the contrasting snow capped mountain peaks and for the ultramarine colored sea that held this sacred day. After walking for about an hour my compass realigned and I was pointing true north. I worked my way down the sandy cliff, rolled up my trousers and waded in the frigid sea.

I strolled barefoot along the waters edge, allowing the silken stones to sooth my tired soles. I encountered a couple from Napa, where I had recently attended a wedding.

They described the wind from a Fire Keepers perspective, an idea that I had not considered while researching my book. As I allowed the tides to shift, my energy flowed like seagulls riding the swells of Puget Sound.

Still lingering in the distance was the idea that perhaps I had missed the bloom, but the wind quickly whisked this idea out into the deep bay, replacing the mental chatter with peace and clarity. Many of life’s perplexing questions can be answered by spending time alone with nature.

As the butter began to solidify I realized that the space I had been holding for the angry young man was a form of retribution for my past transgressions. Thanking him for this spiritual lesson, I headed home.

I worked my way back up the bluff and was greeted by scotch broom and purple vetch, which seemed to hold the sea and sky together in awe-inspiring shades of blue. As I completed my long trek, the winds whispered wise words for my book.

In nature (as in life) nothing remains the same.

There is no way to go back in time. I turned around to take a final glance at the sweeping landscape and brilliant sun, and realized that I was not the same person who had started this walk. As I passed a gnarly old tree on the path, I said,  “If only you could talk and share what you have seen over the centuries. I would sit at your feet like a child waiting for a bedtime story. “

But in order to be truly present, I had to discard last year’s pictures so I could hear the enchanting songs of the shore birds dancing on the beach that glorious day.

The island had beckoned me.

If you ever get a chance to visit, don’t hesitate.

You might be lifted by the winds of change and hover over majestic Grey whales.


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 Ed: Bryonie Wise

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