Autumn Equinox
Everything has changed.
Yesterday they cut down three trees
across the alley from my balcony.
I cried, because there will be no more morning bird song.
Now, totally exposed,
I look at the back of neighborhood garages,
and hear nothing but street noise.
I thought we learned something from the big sleep.
For more than two years
we had the time and space to fall in love
with our mother again.
Yet we cut down trees in the name of fire
mitigation, raise utility rates while
spending millions on advertising, telling us
how we’ll benefit from an upgraded power grid,
left to languish in favor of shareholder profits.
To sooth my soul
I head to the farthest point, out where
land, sea and sky meet.
Having escaped the preserve fence,
a bull elk stands guard over his harem.
Coyote on the ridge sniffs into the wind.
Harrier hawks hang still midair, then dive for dinner.
One flies directly overhead
with a screeeee! I see you.
I answer back.
The owls weren’t in their tree today.
Too much attention from passersby.
Deserted except for two surfers, the beach
reveals the mysteries of the night.
Tracks of elk, raccoon, coyote, even a large cat.
To be out here under a starlit sky
gives me thrill-chills.
Seagulls take flight en masse.
White, grey, black, fluttering against the white and black surf.
No sun to make the roiling waters light up green.
Farther along, the nearly pristine sand, marred
only by a few delicate strands strewn,
of tiny broken crab and mussel shells.
A dying jelly here and there.
I love this place, like Mary Oliver loved her marsh.
The ebb and flow of tides.
The Pacific salt air that smells
so much cleaner than the east coast.
Clumps of dune grass remind me of
Scotland’s wind-whipped Outer Hebrides.
We walk a mile or so, not saying much.
What is there to say, really?
Everything, and nothing, has changed.

Inspired by the poem How to Love by January Gill O’Neil
From the Wild Writing practice

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TRIBUTE  to Gay Luce and David Patten – Beloved Spiritual Teachers, Nine Gates Mystery School

Gay Lisa David Bali2012

Gay Lisa David Bali2012

Both now gone, only three moons apart, Gay riding the Strawberry Moonbeam, and David on the Harvest Moon, home to the source of all things. They were my “spiritual parents” guiding me through the mysteries in my most intense (saturn’s-second-return) years of seeking. Gay with her wide open Bodhisattva heart who lived in the stratosphere, and David, the Druid, who’s love of the land, language and Bali was her grounding rod. I traveled to Bali with them in February 2012 and later that year, in October, they graciously took me in to live with them. I arrived in California leaping into the void, leaving my well-established life in Boulder CO, without a plan for what would come next. I miss them dearly. And yet, the teaching and the love they bestowed, live on in me and in all the many, many souls they touched and loved. Gate Gate Parasam Gate Bodhi Svaha

What and where is Home? I’ve been thinking a lot about this lately––the recent leave-taking of elders, arrivals of precious new souls, and my own impending surgery, all taking place far from those loved ones. This month I made a trip back to Colorado, my home of 22 years. A dear friend of mine moved back there recently. While she spent her junior-senior high school years in Colorado, it’d been 35 years since she lived there. Family, across the street from her provide an anchor. Over the covid years another friend traveled and lived from west coast to east coast, from Toronto to Florida, and is now back in California, trying to decide, where is home? What is it exactly that draws us to a place and anchors us? Is it the environment, the people, the stage of life we’re in? Are these unsettling times exacerbating the search for home. The first time I saw the Rocky Mountains I knew with all my being, that was home. It took me 15 years to get there. Thankfully my anchor was family, as my younger brother and his wife had put down roots that allowed me to settle in. I eventually bought a house, and put down my own roots that helped anchor other family members through major life changes. I didn’t think I’d ever get tired of the beauty, the views, or the hikes. The restlessness began when my mother died, and crescendoed with my own health issues and near-death-experience. I didn’t want to die on a culdesac. I’ve been gone 11 years now, moving to California coaxed by Spirit, a thirst for more freedom, and a need for some deep healing. It hasn’t been easy, especially financially, yet it’s been rich with learning, healing, deep friendships and travel. Whenever I come back from any travels, I go to the ocean, lean into the wind, and ask, “Are you done with me?”  So far, the answer has been, no.

Touching Memories
I couldn’t remember where to turn
to find my house.
When I did, it looked the same.
Big. Beige. Boring. A rambling split level
too big for one person.
The yard gone to shit.
The neighbor’s rusty blue truck
still parked where it was 10 years ago.
A dead end culdesac.
Around the corner, Mary Magdalene’s
outdoor labyrinth
where I once had a vision
that would move me to California.

Up the winding switchback
grateful for guardrails
to the amphitheater perched
high above, with a view so vast
you can see to Kansas.
Facing the stone seats,
through a thin veil of tears, I saw every one,
exactly where they sat
for my mother’s memorial.
Bagpiper beneath the pines
Amazing Grace drifts on the breeze.
Relieved for that grief bomb
not to dampen next year’s wedding.

Pulling a dusty banker’s box
from my brother’s basement
stored since the flood of 2013.
Inside, years of financial papers
for money I no longer have.
Medical records for blundered surgeries.
Burn them all!
Except the special edition
magazines commemorating 9/11.
Time. Life. People.
That would be unholy
on this anniversary day.

Beloved Pearl Street,
restaurants, Chautauqua Park,
my old hood on Balsam Ave.
Moe’s cranberry walnut bagels.
Spooky Stanley Hotel,
Elk wandering the Estes Park streets
I still know the name of every
Front Range peak I ever hiked
before the surgery.
Hauntingly familiar, yet so different.
As am I –
No longer the outdoorsy mountain gal.
Or am I?

Family hugs mixed with laughter,
tears, tacos and tequila.
A few old friends showed up for happy hour.
Someone asked…
Was I letting go of parts of me, still?
Or retrieving lost bits?  Hmmmm…
Back on the Cali coast
with its moist air and golden, rolling hills.
Mountains – or – ocean? Rochambeau…
The Tule Elk of Pierce Point aren’t all that
different than Rocky Mountain Elk.
I could touch the feel of home,
those memories, for the briefest of moments,
not wanting to linger.

Touching memories of who I once was.
How would my now-self be?
Can you ever really go back?

Inspired by the poem, I Could Touch It, by Ellen Bass

Peace and blessings,
Rev. Lisa

Spiritual Companion/Guide, Healer,
Interfaith Chaplain, Contemplative Photographer

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“The earth is full of thresholds where beauty awaits the wonder of our gaze.” John O’Donohue