Ananda Pilgrimage Part II

Two days ago, my mom picked me up from the greyhound bus stop in Colfax and drove us along an exquisite winding road through the forest back to her spiritual stomping ground.  Do spiritual people stomp?  Or do they tap dance?  Samba?  Tango with the All Pervading Divine Dancer?  I suppose it depends.  But the road was magical and put me quickly at ease.  Did I need to be put at ease?  Yes.  It was strange.  For the first leg of my pilgrimage which consisted of a four hour sojourn on the greyhound bus, I was filled with the invigorating cellular hum born of adventure.  I thought and read, dreamed and witnessed life slowly racing by out the window, feeling so relieved to be out of my beaten-to-death-familiar surroundings.

But as soon as the bus released me in the small, hot mountain town of Colfax, on the disconcertingly expansive doorstep of the Great Unknown… Gulp.  I was washed by a surprising wave of fear.  In the car with my mom, I sat with a very young feeling of being perfectly out of control.  In my daily life at home I have my rhythms and routines chiseled brutishly on the stone tablets of my day to day existence.  I traverse the same streets, eat the same foods, (Time out, I just have to tell you that there is a beautiful white spotted fawn outside the window.  It is very young, tender and skittish.  Oooh, there’s mama, too.  The deer are very prolific around here, so I have been blessed with the opportunity to observe them closely.  I notice that they are ALWAYS on guard, never seeming to have the luxury of letting go and stone cold chillin’.  So many boogie monsters out to get them…Ahhh, a day in the life of prey. But they are so innocent and silent. Time in.)

Same foods.  Same songs.  Same Bay Area static.  Is that good or bad?  Is that right or wrong?  Is that in or out??? (Attention ladies and gentlemen, that was me poking fun at our default judicial orientation to compartmentalizing our experience of Life!  And now back to our previously programmed linguistic parade.)  This rhythmic continuity has its ins and outs, as does everything, if you really want to get to bone picking, which I don’t.

I just want to stand back and marvel at that surprise shower of contracted emotion that rained down on me from the invisible sneakery of left field.  I felt momentarily crippled by the fear, because I could not control it.  So as we wound along the enchanted woody road to Ananda, sunlight and shadows slow dancing about the sea of silently chanting trees, I desperately invoked the presence of my own inner mother to soothe this frightened child balled up in my chest and belly.  But the moment of release of course was all Grace’s doing, as it usually is.  (I believe there’s even an old, popular song written about this…Wink!)

We approached a bridge and my mom cheerfully asked, “Would you like to get out and have a look at the river?”  I contemplated her offer for a moment and then said, “Nah… I’ll see it later.”  We were intent on making it back in time for me to attend afternoon sadhana and plus, I just felt lazy about stopping and exerting the profound effort of getting out of the car so that I could stand on the bridge and take a few generous visual gulps of the illustrious Yuba River.  But my mom didn’t seem to hear me, because without even a moment of hesitation, she pulled off the dainty, twisting highway and into a crowded parking lot nestled beside the bridge.

(Time out~ I feel compelled to report a crucial location change.  I started this blog entry in the late morning at the large dining table in my mom’s communal house, “Chandi House”.  Now it is evening and I am outdoors on “the Ridge”, which faces west and overlooks a lush, green valley and distant, laissez-faire-ily rolling hills.  I can tell the sun in contemplating setting a few thousand heartbeats from now.  Outdoor sunset bloging:  It’s a whole different beast.  I’m leaning up against this massive evergreen trunk.  It must be the arboreal love child of Arnold Schwarzenegger and Mama Cass.  Thank god for the grace of its generous canope, because even at eight pm its so hot here.  This now moment is quite a contrast from my worn-out, nauseatingly usual jumpin’ urban café for sure.  The scent of the air is sweet, earthy.  Oh and while I’m on the subject, this adorable couple was sitting on a bench swing near me.  When they got up to leave a few moments ago, the man, a very luminous (I mean very luminous) older man wished me a good night as he folded his hands before his heart, looked in my eyes and gently bowed.  The gesture burst with blessed essence.  It’s one of those moments that could either slip almost unnoticed into the cracks in time and space, or rattle my soul’s bones with quiet miraculousness.  I opted for the later.  Time in.)

So thankfully, I have finally graduated from the tired-assed, worn out school of constantly finding fault in my mom… so whereas once upon a not too distant time ago I would have been enraged that my mom stopped even though I explicitly told her not to, this time I threw my mind into fourth gear and wearily hopped out of the car to peek over the bridge at this alleged river.  What do I type next… except HOLY LUCID-A-LICIOUS GUACAMOLE!  The Yuba River… It took my breath away and then gave it back to me again a thousand fold.  Envision excruciatingly lush, verdant, sloping hillsides sliced down the center by a rushing current of vibrant, aqua elixir.  Imagine this liberated, crystalline current weaving its way between immense granite boulders smoothed by water and time and certainly by the meticulous Love of the All Pervading Mother.

Again, words are an unjust means to convey the experience of Holy Awe that pounded me like the swift current this great river which clearly contained the Ocean!  The best I can do to get you on the same revelatory page as me is to confess that I threw a rushed gesture in my mom’s direction before throwing myself down the steep incline, ripping off my pants and diving right into crisp, translucent blue heaven.  Yes, in plain English, I leapt into the river in my tank top and panties.  It was as if I was diving into a wellspring of my own vitality.  My whole body tingled with ecstasy and gratitude.

Ever since I heard Little Grandmother speak about how our true energy source is nature, I have yearned for nothing more than to immerse my whole self in Mother Nature’s wondrous, unconditional majesty, drinking it in in unabashed, glutinous swallows.  Soaked and exploding with life, I hopped back in the car, high as a soaring eagle.  How did my mom know to give me this gift?  She just knew.  I love that.  I love that so much.  I love her so much.  I love the Yuba River so much.  And now the sun hovers just above the horizon, spraying dangerously potent, electric orange light all over everything.  The air temperature has rapidly dropped to what would clearly read on any thermometer, “perfect”, “sensual” and “passively euphoric”.

God, thank you SO much… for this moment, for this day, for this life, for this long, arduous and entirely miraculous unfolding.

Amen.

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