Skirt- made by Teeny! From a scarf! It's awesome!
Necklace- a gift from Anne. It used to belong to her sister.
It is one of the most precious things anyone has ever given to me.
I had other ideas for this post, but Mother Nature had her own.
It is September now, the month of mottled sunlight and empty beach, awash with seaweed and dead jellyfish. The few people here are quiet, peaceful, respectful. Gone are the screaming hordes. The animals can tell it too, reclaiming the park.
I have to say that when we got home from the city, I breathed a huge, billowing sigh of relief. It felt more like home than in months. The air smells like freedom and berries and decaying leaves. The stars are impeccably bright.
Native and non-native alike, the fauna once again outnumber the lumbering humans.
The small spotted ones get larger by the day. For the sake of the two seemingly motherless fawns I hope they do grow stronger and more independent fast. Certainly these two had a curious nature, chasing around the cats and chickens, coming close enough to me to feel the air move when they took off. Thankfully they were smart enough to do just that, run for the hills. That gives me hope for them.
We are each in our own element more now, settling in for growing our winter stores (fat or pantry), rejoicing in the sunlight, going about our business.
Pleased to be here, and nowhere else.
Speaking of places you will go, without ever leaving home. This is one of the many things we did on our little holiday:
A small moon, first of five (the tattooing was cut short by the need to see Beasts), an imperfect circle.
The seven words, mine to carry on this earth, first written on a cave wall in about fifteen-hundred years ago by a legendary, or more likely mythical Chinese poet, hermit, and self-proclaimed madman Han Shan. Translated from the original by one Gary Snyder. These words are the last line of a poem Snyder titled simply "Cold Mountain". In it, Han Shan, who's name also means "Cold Mountain", discusses his life as a hermit, the truths he has managed to glean from years of such a harsh existence among the boulders, creeks and birds of the mountain. The poem touches on freedom, possessions, pressure to conform, the ills of "modern life", social constraints to seeing the truth.
No one truly knows who the historical Han Shan was, how he really lived and died, nor does it matter much.
I'm sure there are other interpretations, but I chose these words because from the first reading of the poem I took them to mean literally everything.
I took them to mean that Cold Mountain is no more a real, tangible place than Han Shan a real tangible historical person. Rather we carry it with us, traveling up its
"Rough and dark - the Cold Mountain trail,
Sharp cobbles - the icy creek bank.
Yammering, chirping - always birdsBleak, alone, not even a lone hiker"
to get to a place where we find, for the lack of a better word, God, or Enlightenment, some spiritual sense in this world, a way to comprehend, or maybe even ease our suffering...or perhaps nothing more than the journey itself.
That you don't have to be a Zen hermit to get there, or any kind especially religious, pure or moral person, you just have to try. That religious, spiritual seeking is just that. Trying. To be a better person, trying to do least harm, trying to live by your values, trying to practice meditation, loving kindness...trying.
I could go on forever about the meanings behind my handy spiritual post-it note, but I do believe that is another post. I will add though, that the tattoo is not the only reminder of being a religious seeker that I carry on my body today. This beautiful necklace was gifted to me by dear Anne a while back. I've been waiting to wear it for this very special occasion. It used to belong to her sister, who's conviction in her beliefs in utterly inspiring. As is Anne's own.
Lucky for us, we don't most of us travel up that mountain alone.