Putting another log on the fire, I nestle into my soft blanket as the day comes to an end. I am surprised to see the soft glow of the moon in the East already, while the intense pink sky in the opposite direction announces the departure of the sun. Settling into the stillness of what is ending and beginning all at once, vivid memories from my recent trip return. I remember clearly my feeling of excitement and some fear as I sensed that this trip was just the beginning of a much bigger journey, as I stood at the back of the ferry watching the little island I call home disappear in the dense fog, leaving a sparkling trail of light.
Three ferries took me to the mainland and my car, after sputtering unhappily for the last two years, was finally back in its full power and taking me effortlessly across the mountain passes back to where my sons were born more than twenty-five years ago. My heart was beaming with joy as I drove the familiar route through the mountains, both delighting in what I saw and the memories that kept resurfacing of two little boys and a big golden dog and all the sweet adventures we shared with their grandparents that came faithfully each summer for an extended stay from Germany, helping us on our homestead.
I must have stopped at least fifteen times, drinking in the scenery and beauty of the changing season with all my senses, reacquainting myself with the different, yet achingly familiar, fragrances, plants, birds and wildlife like I would with dear old friends. Taking my time to rediscover special spots and stopping whenever I felt the sense to pull over, I was filled with deep gratitude and wonder. For once I had all the time in the world.
As I drove through the fall landscape with beautiful shades of red, orange and yellow I was reminded that this is the season of my life now and that there is beauty and new experiences waiting to be discovered by the woman who I am now, not the young mother I was then.
It was such a sweet joy to visit with my dearest friend and as always share deeply with each other both the blessings and the pain. One of the many magical highlights was going for a hike together, climbing her favourite little mountain. My muscles were screaming by the time we got to the top. The little mountain was much bigger than I had anticipated. But the view overlooking Grand Forks and the wonderful feeling I always get when I climb a mountain and can leave behind old ideas, confusion and any heaviness I might be feeling, made more than up for the discomfort of my body.As we sat on the top of that mountain, dark clouds began moving in quickly and we watched a lonesome crow ride a thermal right in front of us. We remarked on how unusual it was to see only one crow and wondered why a group of them is called something as strange as ” a murder of crows”. No sooner had we spoken the word when more and more crows joined the first one. All of sudden the murder of crows had appeared out of nowhere. There were more crows than we could count, all dancing with the strong winds right before our eyes. It was exhilarating and quite the show to watch, making us wish we could join them.But there was another gift waiting for us. When we got back down to the bottom of the mountain, my friend found a Praying Mantis right by my car and we took turns holding her for a little while. I couldn’t help but feel profoundly touched by the encounter. This Praying Mantis with one broken antenna captured my heart as she sat there looking at me in complete stillness, helping me find my own inner stillness and connection to the Sacred.
Visiting my sons on Mayne Island on my way back was just as special and filled another part of my heart. More delightful hikes and discoveries on this small Gulf island with the highlight of a fun ride on the back of a motorbike through the autumn woods with a picnic by the Sea. Probably the most magical moment was hearing the most astonishingly beautiful song by a raven I have ever heard. It took us a while to identify who made these enchanting sounds as we sat in wonder and listened. Eagle watched carefully as two families of otters came for a drink of water and passed beneath the tree he was sitting on and disappeared in the woods perhaps for an afternoon nap.When it was time to go back home and the ferry pulled away from Mayne Island at sunrise, I felt quite differently than when I started out on my trip. And one thing that became clear is that my journey isn’t over. As I allowed myself to first entertain the possibility of listening to a deep inner calling to visit the Big Island of Hawaii on my own, that possibility quickly took on a life of its own. I will be leaving for the next part of this journey in just over two weeks. My heart is filled with much gratitude and wonder, but also fear arises in the dark hours of the night, as I continue on this sacred journey into the Mystery.
A sacred journey
When you travel,
A new silence
Goes with you,
And if you listen,
You will hear
What your heart would
Love to say.
A journey can become a sacred thing.
Make sure before you go,
To bless your going forth,
To free your heart of ballast
So that the compass of your soul
Might direct you towards
The territories of spirit
Where you will discover
More of your hidden life;
And the urgencies
That deserve to claim you.
~ John O’Donohue
In response to the Daily Prompt: Gratitude